olive soap / by Dahlia Dandashi

the sounds of syria play through my windows when i sleep.

the birds still sing. they do not believe in war or bloodshed.

the sun shines her teeth. and i can feel her smile on my hot cheeks as i doze.

 

in another life, 

i eat charred corn on a rooftop,

my short legs dangling like wind chimes from cedar trees.

i sing ballads to chickpeas and pistachios as i walk through the souk,

my plump heart a succulent pomegranate of song. 

 

when i am awake, my lonely soul calls for the flooding sea and salt.

these people do not understand.

the mediterranean is my mother,

she watches me with brooding eyes and heavy tears, even from far,

anticipating my return. 

 

our pasts died long ago in crowded shoeboxes,

photographs trapped under rubble just aching to pupate.

latakia, i still taste you in my dreams,

your arms and legs now lost somewhere in memories of olive soap and lye.

 

the mediterranean is my mother,

and she will always live on.

she does not believe in war or bloodshed,

and i will only die once she swallows me whole.