Hedy Habra – Mandala

Hedy Habra LE Poetry & Writing October 2017

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Mandala, poems by Hedy Habra

Hedy Habra has authored two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes, finalist for the USA Best Book Award and the International Poetry Book Award, and Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A six-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, her work appears in Cimarron Review, The Bitter Oleander, Blue Fifth Review, Cider Press Review, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Poet Lore, World Literature Today and Verse Daily. Her website is hedyhabra.com

Defying the Blank Page  

They seem sketched at dawn with sepia colors: a herd of deer followed by a trembling fawn appears in the whitened landscape. Disoriented, they roam around unable to distinguish what was once inert or throbbing under the thick layers of immaculate snow. Head bent, they fumble, in search of a blade of grass, a twig or a dried leaf to munch on. They know they must keep digging deeper and deeper, farther and farther, until they stumble upon a forgotten nut or an acorn, the remainder of a bush, softened fallen bark still covered with moss, any meager sustenance to help resist the bitter cold. Are they even aware they instill hope in my daily struggle?

They gather at noon
warm a bed of fallen leaves
under the spruces


Frame your lover’s smile
hang it on a wall

or over the mantle
light the fireplace

stare at the empty spaces
left by dancing shadows

see them rise in a mural
in monochrome rainbows

with dissonant colors

Or Why Does She Paint a Virtual Space for Silent Words?

Sometimes she slips into folds of lavender hues, curls into daydreams; her open palm holds ashes of words unsaid, their symphony in gray minor fades away with every brushstroke dipped in desert sand, awakening dunes pregnant with gypsum roses now piled up on rice paper steeped in sunshine to color her ochre song. Sepias warm her heart as she carefully adds a drop of dew to fill its invisible holes, soften the contours of rebellious shapes and desires.

Oblivious of the passing of time, she enters a virtual space filled with silent words, watches the reflection of shadows dance over the walls of a resounding cavern while words break into syllables, phonemes morph into motes floating in the void, yes, her brush acquiesces, moving faster, yes, here lies the source of forgotten signs melting into shades speaking only to her as she witnesses the birth of a new language.


I return from a trip, eager to find solace in my estate, but can’t get past my garden gate: two masked men are spraying insecticides, turning my premises into chemical warfare while a big white dog runs towards me, menacing. Panting, I reach the back door, climb winding stairs, take refuge in convoluted coils as in a huge nautilus shell, fumble to find the lock that will lead me inside, only to stumble into the maid, an automaton vacuuming with a deafening sound. How did she enter, I wonder? I have become a stranger in my own home.


The patient’s black leather jacket was thrown on a chair. When I hung it in the closet, I found, bulging in one of the pockets, more than a thousand dollars he must have forgotten about because when I handed them to him he acted as though I was giving him a gift. And why would I ever do that, I wondered, but had no time to reflect since he was getting ready for surgery and became my elderly neighbor to whom I had been a source of solace in the East wing of that hospital that looked like an underground shelter.

© Hedy Habra