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Deema K. Shehabi




Eminent Domain


A dusty doormat, 

a wind that evanesces in the mouth,

a history dismembered in the body 

of a sparrow crashed upon the window sill,

a flattened venison on a plate with chanterelles 

in a lake resort named after a vanished tribe, 

an old Damascene house with little snakes

in the holes of its cool walls, 

a rust blemish on a woman’s face

lit up by a surveillance flare in the dark, 

a child with a lucid dream 

in which he runs and jumps 

over acacia trees in the Sahel, 

some oleanders sheared in half in mid-blossom 

in the middle of September—

an abandoned house saturated with yellow mustards 

in which someone scrapes the light 

at midnight and scares the children, 

a ten-year-old with an M16 in Tebane 

who’d rather go to school, 

a conversation with my love in which he says, 

Why weep at the sight of small outstretched 

hands? Tomorrow, we’ll go south—

Deema K. Shehabi is poet, writer, and editor. She is the author of Thirteen Departures from the Moon, and is co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. Her work has appeared widely in various anthologies and literary journals. Her most recent publication is a collaboration with Marilyn Hacker titled Diaspo/Renga: a collaboration in alternating renga. Her work has been translated into Arabic, Farsi, and French.

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