Abeer Ameer

Passing
After Qays ibn Al-Mulawwah

Passing the dwellings, she’ll trace the streets,
derelict sands and remains of walls.
She kisses them not for the walls but the breeze
of those once here whom she adores.

She stands at half-mast of her five feet tall
held up by the promise with hardship comes ease,
She breathes jasmine and dust they inhaled before.
Passing the dwellings, she’ll trace the streets

in mourning that her heart still beats.
She holds her son’s shirt, her mother’s prayer shawl,
finds faces in shadows; she’s clothed in black sheets.
Derelict sands and remains of walls

echo ululations and smacks from footballs.
Minarets call God is greater in desert heat,
spread scent left in stones, breathe sighs with all.
She kisses them not for the walls but the breeze.

She’s not alone wandering while others sleep;
shadows and bats share dawn and nightfall.
She sees names in rocks, hears moons speak
of those once here, whom she adores.

She knows all but Al-Hayy shall fade and fall;
that life and death in decreed cycles must meet.
Pomegranates and figs from each market stall
taste only of grief, yet greet her with Peace,
passing the dwellings.

Abeer Ameer’s poems have been published in online and print journals including Acumen, Planet, The Interpreter’s House, Tears in the Fence, Envoi, Magma, Long Poem Magazine, New Welsh Reader and Under the Radar. She is currently working on a collection of poems based on stories from Iraq. Her debut collection is due to be published by Seren in 2021.