The Year of the Dragon

My parents' fire spent, time seems to drag on
until the cosmos, smoking, spawns the dragon. 

All my waters burning. Every look a flare.
Every boy I love turns me to dragon. 

Stretch your wingspan's luck between two rivers. 
One, an ancient stream. One, a pipe to drag on. 

Stalactites stab me, living in this cave—
to leave or enter in, pass through the dragon. 

The marrow of all living things is soft. 
The marrow of the universe is dragon. 

Einstein, stumped. The Theory, elusive. 
Beneath their grand equations skulks a dragon. 

The daily drip-drip-drip of tedium
feeds the growing fires of the dragon. 

I sit alone each night and dream escape. 
Then wake each dawn to stroke the seething dragon. 

We're at each other's throats. Why stay together?
Old friends walk off and shudder. It's the dragon. 

You smile and whisper in my ear, Siham, I promise. 
O garish words! You made me kiss the dragon.  

First published in Autumnskypoetrydaily.


To the Buzz

Behold the seven heavens! A quark then flies
through primordial soup, stirring galaxies, planets, life...then flies. 

We wandered wildernesses, barely clothed, unkempt
and battling dinosaurs, then crocs and sabertooths, then each other, then flies. 

We stood in awe and laid down our spears
watching how a condor's wingspan spreads its own horizon, then flies. 

It took millenia to reach the point of you
opening this cloth over the grass to share a fragrant loaf, this pungent cheese—then flies. 

Why not bring more sky into our love, more music?
Let's be what breaks the chrysalis, then flies. 

Behind the stream of life and death, who wins?
We ask wild hyenas, circling vultures, then flies. 

Siham, bring on frogs, turtles, purple martins, spiders!
Let them rule the air, to eat mosquitos, gnats, then flies!


My words so delicately bubbling, break on your points;
quills fly from your sentences and make your points. 

I step with caution, keep a close eye on your heart.
Your angers bloat like porcupines and shake their points. 

Sometimes I disappear all wrapped in silk. 
Your words will slip right through; I'll fake your points. 

The minutes buried in this cloud of tension
get lost in all the fog and break their points. 

What keeps me here? An insanity of love
exchanging gifts then glowering, to rake our points. 

You are the burr in the bearskin, the lump in the throat, 
clinging there till I forsake my points. 

I live for moments to buoy me above
the future, its inevitable ache of points. 

My whole life turns and bends around your quills. 
You live to see me squirm, to stake your points. 

But you forget my arrow soars to thrilling heights
beyond where you could ever take my points. 


From the fury of jungles came the ocelot. 
The wisdom of the ages cannot tame this ocelot. 

His beauty halts my moments, his grace arouses
my secret furs. I dare not name my ocelot. 

When I recline on his soft-arching radiance,
I feel retracted love and fear, proclaim my ocelot. 

His name, amalgam of some holy dream
landed on a thought you feel the same, my ocelot?

Of course, we're worlds apart, his wilds can never touch
my wilds. But who, in dreams, sets me aflame? That ocelot. 

No ocean-liner pet, accessory for Dali, he
reigns king of smaller forests, of intimate fame, my ocelot. 

Should I go wandering off, tired of his midnight prowls,
he brings a snake held by his forceful gaze. How can I blame the ocelot?

He never says a word, but knows my name,
a light-arrow in his eyes: so aims my ocelot. 

Cricket Heart

I sung my violin all night to move your cricket heart. 
You looked at me and said, You're just a chick at heart.

Love's wavering/ unwavering, a sea out of control
drowns both the innocent and the cynic at heart. 

At least it's genuine. Our sobs will schmaltz the world
down to the embers of my briquette heart. 

The key to life is middle C. But major moods
can jack us up like squirrels, too quick at heart. 

You put up rules and fences for our days and nights,
the arbitrary stabbings of your picket heart. 

Insults pile like dead flies. Hey, they're only words,
you say. Their gnawing hurts, a constant prick at heart.

To place the arrow in the notch? No sleight of hand. 
It's the release that counts, the sudden flick at heart. 


Siham Karami's recent work has or will be published in Measure, The Comstock Review, Mezzo Cammin, American Arts Quarterly, Antiphon, Angle Poetry, Raintown Review, Right Hand Pointing, Sukoon Magazine, The Rotary Dial, Unsplendid, and other venues and anthologies. She is also a semifinalist in the Naugatuck River narrative poetry contest. Her love of the ghazal form was inspired by Agha Shahid Ali and Roger Sedarat among others, and she continues to find inspiration on The Ghazal Page. You can find her at