Judith Terzi

Other Side Ghazal

First appeared on The New Verse News, 11/26/16

The quinceañera, the college graduation. You won't be here.
For your parents' fiftieth. Sorry, you won't be traveling here.

Deported for one ounce of grass. You rode the big bus twice.
You wander dreamless south of the border. You won't be here.

Your mother––sin papeles. Twenty years of tucking corners.
Ten more nurturing others' kids. She can't go there, she's here.

Your father––paperless––mower of grass, nurturer of crops.
Builder of bookcases, family, walls. Thirty years of here.

No re-entry to the USA. No entry. Stay in Aleppo, Mosul.
Trek to Gaza City, Jordan, Istanbul. No welcome mat here.

Endure the tarp of tents, bitterness in your husband's glance.
Let dust on your wife's hijab thicken. You can't come here.

Another quiet cycle through your prayer beads––misbaha.
Kiss weariness from your children's smiles. Not allowed here.

We're sorry our gods have seized the heart of this matter.
They say our country may be great again. You won't be here.


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Judith Terzi's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Caesura, Columbia Journal, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Raintown Review, Spillway, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series). If You Spot Your Brother Floating By and Casbah are her most recent chapbooks from Kattywompus Press. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Web and Net and shortlisted in the Able Muse Write Contest.