THE PAST POURED INTO TODAY: my grandmother has branches digging into the skin of / her palm -- she’s a little like an aging tree: / built like it, all ringed bark and / a gnarled wind-whistling laugh that welcomes you / into the haven of her shade / and I could trace conflict in her veins / but I’d rather trace comfort, the way it settles / over her every time she cooks or weaves back / the tapestry of this country / untangling threads with history in her deft hands, dough-knuckled / and she’s half foreign but no one’s ever worn the flag so well //


THE PRESENT SINKING IN: I’ve molded myself into a new shape in this house / flattened myself like the land here / the only spot in Amman steady enough to keep me / standing and sunset is always more russet / flecked, blush blooming at the horizon / on any of the mountains cresting the city / but there, it’s never made me feel safe like I could / sink into the dirk and hear the river churning underneath / the sounds spilling into my spine, pulsing to my fingertips / my body burrowed tightly enough that I’ve let myself shed skin here / and let you gather it up so you know the history etched in it //

THE FUTURE WHERE IT FLOWS: the river gurgles up a laugh / and blooms sunlight beneath its skin / its ephemeral mouth has drained out into / grandmother’s kitchen where life gathers: / cats keep hanging around  no matter / how many times we get rid of them / so I know they get it / they’re scruffy strays like my little cousins / who’ve got my eyes and nose and / the shade of my hair and they’ve  got / little green buds sprouting in the gaps between their fingers / brazen and bold and loud as they are / where I, dam-mouthed and bursting to break, never had / and the river -- the river will take care to water them //