Siham Karami

Watching Your Language

Oh, the secret thrill of dirty words!
Oh, the Tourette spill of dirty words!

Tired of throwing darts for teddy bears?
What brews in back? A still of dirty words.

Onward, chickens! Oink the duck!
But nothing's quite as shrill as dirty words.

Creampuff girls get high on devil boys,
the intoxicating swill of dirty words.

A stranger kissed my nape, his tongue extended
greetings with the chill of dirty words.

Sometimes the Jack, all spruced up in spades,
brings a daffodil of dirty words.

Shall I believe your luscious lies,
rogue poet
with your flowing quill of dirty words?

Don't call me Siham, just call me a breeze
seeking the goodwill of dirty words.


Looking through the Bull's-Eye

Between the careless lines we banter:
petals, sweetgrass, linen sky.

I think of oceans, lullabies
in conches, jellies' lingerie.

At night our distant tides align
with Venus, untouched sigh and swoon.

I am no shore for human hands,
dear ocean liner gone so long...

Shall we recline on this bare thought
Of skin against parentheses?

A name emboldened, underlined;
an archer's long trajectory.

The sleight of eyes, a sleigh of rhyme
weighed against this line of fire.

Linus at his baby grand,
the grace-notes drowning Lucy's sighs.

Who feels this silken lining float
within my thundercloud cocoon?

Descending where the heart goes blind,
I play my cello's moods by ear.

Inhale the steeping linden flowers
as you, my storm's eye, duck the arrow—

Previously published in Peacock Journal


Pandora's Box

Your breezes fill me and detox my world.
What devils flee when love unlocks my world?

I treat you like a common passerby
but let your ruddy grin outfox my world.

Dear archaeologist, unbury me.
So what are these revived aurochs? My world.

My half-life lost in raucous family bouts,
the unrelenting half would box my world.  

I found you in a book of irises.
Rising up your purple stalks, my world.  

Your words buzz lightly through quicksilver thoughts
whose very lightness turns and mocks my world.

Through the pines and maples flutter hours
whose leaves create, of endless walks, my world.

Our fleeting moments form my starry nights
but there, mid-dream, impatient, knocks my world.

For what must I suspend my heart midair
between your arrows and the rocks? My world.


Siham Karami's work has been published in many journals and anthologies, including The Comstock Review, Tupelo Quarterly Review, Ablemuse Review, The Turnip Truck(s), and forthcoming in Orchards Poetry. She is a previous contributor to the Ghazal Page. Nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, and twice for Best of the Net, she blogs at