Mohja Kahf’s Poetry

Sep 14, 2017 by

Mohja Kahf’s Poetry

The Body’s Aramaic

 
Flesh groans with memory of its ancient language,
phrases cried at the parting of the birth canal of the world
between the banks of Tigris and Euphrates,
back when sex was a sacred act

Our bodies keep something of the imprint
of the great goddess with the lion at her side
carrying the jug from exile to exile,
lifting the wine to the lips,

in the land of here and now,

the body lowers its fat clusters
of grape, anklets jangling
Beads of sweat lace the hips,

trembling with what is being born
in the flesh-upon-flesh of this ziggurat—
a new henna pattern, this touch,

the body’s Aramaic,
its soft vowels and penetrating consonants,
its primal and refined ways of love
 
 
 

Cigarette

 
I want to be your cigarette
so your fingertips will touch me
 
I want to be your cigarette
so your lips will ply my length,
now clenched, now loosely sneering
 
I want to be your cigarette
so your flame will graze and light
my crushed leaves, tightly packed,
your hands cupped carefully around me,
your teeth bared, and your nostrils,
when they scent me, flaring
 
I want to be your cigarette
so your will draw on me, inhale
my smoke, and so your hair
and chest and shirt
will smell of me
 
I want to be your cigarette
so you will be unable,
despite heroic efforts
and overwhelming evidence,
ever to quit me
 
I want to be your cigarette
so you will roll my last gasps
between your skilled hands
then put me out completely
consumed among the ashes
 
Then when you press, fumbling,
your breast pocket once again,
desirous, desperate,
I want to be reborn as your next cigarette
 
 
 

Mohja Kahf has been a professor at the University of Arkansas since 1995 and is the author of E-mails from Scheherazad, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, and Hagar Poems.

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