Sunday Poem: Some Things Last

by Ahmad Almallah

These windows, these panes, at the beginning of light
looking where they look, eyeing the east and the rust
and here they are, protected by shade and shadows:
branches and birds strike them, fly into them and out.
You can see nothing through them, you can only see what
bounces off: back at the world and then you return,
to the lemon, that is the self, squeezing drop after drop—
there’s nothing left of you now, no juice! Can you go on
lubricating the mind, musing on you as disaster,
and the rest of you as the elements?

                                           Here, they go one by one
into a flame set down, beneath all the steps, at the very
bottom of it all … and God! The eyes wish you didn’t!
They look away from the blank space remaining—oh these
birds in the mornings are funny and the little tricks they
repeat and repeat, like these sounds they make, in order:
they fly off together or one by one, puffing up their small
bodies, extending a peak that opens up a view, that finds
space in whatever looks shut and closed—a wall has
some hole, a tree trunk can manage a crack, and under
the ledge, a window knows something
                                           of the hidden world.

Ahmad Almallah is a poet from Palestine and an artist-in-residence at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Border Wisdom (Winter Editions, 2023) and Bitter English (University of Chicago Press, 2019). He won the 2018 Edith Goldberg Paulson Memorial Prize for creative writing and the 2017 Blanche Colton Williams Fellowship. His poems have been published in Jacket2, Apiary, Supplement, SAND, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cordite, American Poetry Review, and Poetry, among other publications.

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