Dear readers, friends,
We find ourselves at the end of National Poetry Month once again. Thank you for joining me on this verse-filled journey; I hope you found some words and images that spoke to you along the way.
Special thanks to Kristina Closs, who brought a whole other layer to the poems with her illustrations–and always helped me see the poems in new ways. If you enjoyed her work, please visit her website, where you can purchase prints (including the ones inspired by this month’s poetry!)–or contact her for custom commissions, which she will gladly work on with you.
The final poem I’d like to share with you this April, which is not only National Poetry Month but also Arab American Heritage Month, is by the Palestinian American poet Tariq Luthun. This is a poem I feel in my bones–the home Kristina drew into the illustration is actually a rendering of what was once my great grandparent’s home in Tulkarm, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. Here’s to a day when everyone has a home for the tea to settle, a haven for the mint to steep.
I GO TO THE BACKYARD TO PICK MINT LEAVES FOR MY MOTHER
Today, my mouth fell
wide when I saw the light
slip into the hills, and those boys
I grew up with did not
come back. Or, so I hear. Mama
would often ask me to gather
the mint leaves from behind our home,
and so I would leave for this
nectar – without it, there is nothing sweet
to speak of. I pray that
when I am gone, my people speak
as sweetly of me as I do of them.
I see us, often, steeped
in the land and hope that
a shore remains
a shore – not a place to become
yesterday. The girls have joined the boys
now – all of them
tucked just beyond
the earth. But I know they wouldn’t run
from their mothers – not without a fight,
a chase, a hunt, a honey, a home
for the tea to settle; a haven
for us to return to.