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Hedy Habra – Two Poems

Profile Hedy Habra LE P&W Mag August 2019

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Two poems by Hedy Habra

Hedy Habra has authored three poetry collections, most recently, The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019). Tea in Heliopolis won the USA Best Book Award and was finalist for the International Book Award, and Under Brushstrokes was finalist for the USA Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A fourteen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, her work appears in Cimarron Review, Bitter Oleander, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Poet Lore, World Literature Today and Verse Daily. Her website is hedyhabra.com


Or Have you Ever Heard of a Cipher Even Freud Couldn’t Elucidate?

After Ana Mendieta’s The Labyrinth of Venus

It could be a seal
carved in
flesh
its winding lines
like fingerprints
or tree rings
in a sawn trunk
marking a threshold
in red ink
or blood

A written language
tattooed in defiance
of finding its key

A seal that raises the notion
of trespassing
or
colonizing
in the name of desire

An intricate barrier
not meant to be ignored
but understood
not to be toppled
but deconstructed

And doesn’t history
record how
it often takes a woman
to unwind
the thread?


Or Had She Told Him, Would He Have Understood?

Tu étais fait à la taille de mon corps même”
Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima mon amour

She could have told him,
like Emmanuelle Riva,
who thought she would
never experience
such passion again
“How could I know you fit
my body like a glove,”
but would he have understood?

She suddenly felt the deep
echoes of that woman’s feelings,
first heard from an actress
in Alain Resnais’ black and
white movie she’d seen when
she was too young to know
the language of bodies,
experience the tightness
of a custom-made garment
fitting like a fruit and its skin.

Eyes closed, she sinks
at times into the hollow well
of memory, her body comes
alive from every pore,
awakens sleeping butterflies
opening their wings at once,
folded wings that were
gateways, shadowy
interstices that kept hidden
memory and desire.


© Hedy Habra