(a prose poem)
—for Miss May Ziadeh
You were close to me last night in your compassion and cherishing of me; I felt the feather-soft way your fingers moved through my hair, the shape of your hands familiar and welcome…
You placed your face close to mine and whispered in my ear a little while, quick, soft words much too quiet for me to comprehend, more the breath than the language, and you had no pain — yours or mine — letting your face close to mine and gazing at me, as my eyes would gently close…
I opened my eyes a moment, it was now morning, a full night’s sleep, the sky was a blushing like I’d not seen it yet this spring, the color and thought I’d thanked you for many times…I was still too languid to send a kiss just then; it was back to blue in a moment: warm blue like a delicious ice pop I was too languid to eat, and then I’d fallen back asleep.
I opened my eyes as I woke today another morning, the dawn sky was another pink and filled with winding calligraphy without words I could read in soft, full blushing white-rose of sky giving way to blue.
I sent a few quick kisses from my fingers pressed to my lips pressed toward the sky when I’d sat up to stretch. I had one day learned, since I’ve sent you kisses toward heaven that way, that you had written in your biography book of a poet named Aisha Taymur who was just before your time but you had met her and wished to honor her….
and to anticipate readers as you were about to describe this past poet in her home setting, you’d written, “Why rely on the imagination when we can just break in? Here’s a place we can enter past the front garden through the fence,” and we do ‘enter’ with a warm description of Aisha Taymur’s home and country of birth. You’d been been amused and pleased with how you’d found it was a custom of the Turkish people to send quick kisses with their fingers when a welcome guest walked in;
I’ve sent you kisses like these not knowing that; you’d written in that book amused and gladdened by how the kisses were so quick and soft and many like “how sweet little birds send kisses.” My heart is warm with love now; I am too subdued to laugh, but there is always later.