Her father and his gang storm in on camelback,
but I see only her, in shadows, farther back.
His sword and gun, two scepters at the hilt. In fear,
the people eye him warily, standing back.
He calls me to his welcome hut. My heart like coals
that flare beneath the kanaka— no turning back.
I met her once in secret in another village.
We mouthed forbidden dreamings. I'll be coming back.
Her father weighs the spoils and makes alliances,
then gives her to his crony. Don't betray my back.
We wed in town in secret, but he kidnaps her,
then slashes her to pieces behind my back.
The villagers stare at him parading with the sack
that was his daughter, now his new hunchback.
They say he dumped her in the Nile, but no one knows
she's buried in the marrow sinking down my back.
SIHAM KARAMI's poetry appears or will appear in The Comstock Review, Measure, Unsplendid, Möbius, String Poet, The Centrifugal Eye, Mezzo Cammin, Angle Poetry, Wordgathering, Loch Raven Review, Snakeskin, Raintown Review, The Lavender Review, Atavic Poetry, Innisfree Journal, and the anthologyIrresistible Sonnets, among other places. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was inspired to write ghazals by the work of Agha Shahid Ali and Roger Sedarat.