MY HEART IS AN EXTREMITY

Siham Karami

Who crowned the heads of conquerors with leaves?
You slam the door. I'm rolling up my sleeves. 

We read each other's eyes and almost drown
like gypsies rendered speechless by the leaves.

Then winter strips us down to skeletons:
static, silence, sparks are all it leaves.

What is this archaeology of love,
brushing fragile shards, preserving leaves?

Waking to a gentle blush, we whisper
truth in half-words, all the heart believes. 

We slowly die, let loose from the tree,
then whirl in restless, weightless crowds of leaves.

Your hands dry out like parchment on their bones,
but longing for their firm grip never leaves.

The spine holds words together, names the whole
but we extract their meaning from the leaves.

Don't measure time, Siham, by things that fall,
but by the upward thrust of newborn leaves.


Previously published in Angle Poetry

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 anthology Irresistible Sonnets, among other places. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was inspired to write ghazals by the work of Agha Shahid Ali and Roger Sedarat.