By RANA TAHIR
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Trenches at ShowBiz, Kuwait City
If you look now,
the beaches are full.
in the open gulf,
The sand whole,
not broken like an
eye dangling out
The soldiers my father
misled must have found
the trench by the amusement
park. In three years’ time,
my parents will take
their daughter to the beach,
will sit her down on plastic
chairs, try to make her
hold still, try to get
a picture of her printed
on a mug for Eid. She
will chase lights reflecting
off the tiled restaurant floor,
will always wander, then fall
back, trudge through the sand,
run away from the surf. This time,
for sandcastles, new holes will be dug.
I have learned to rebuild from my parents—
the way to smooth the cracks in a wall,
that when a bullet shatters the window—
new panes of glass can be brought in.
My father sleeps on tiled floor the first
night he returns to Kuwait—at least
that is what I imagine, though I know
it is the wrong apartment I dream of—
the one with the pink tiles, pink walls,
pink curtains blowing in the breeze coming
off the Gulf. I know he slept on the floor
of the looted apartment because he told
me. Everything else I imagine—the dust
outlining absence, trapping the memories of what
once was. Before papering over what’s broken,
there is the count. He will try to quantify
what home once looked like, before burning
skies, before the heaviness of rebuilding.
What I know is that he will keep a stray bullet,
two artillery shells. I ask, will he keep them to
remind him that outside the sky rains ash?
Rana Tahir is a poet and author. She is a Kundiman Fellow and a member of RAWI (Radius of Arab American Writers). Her work can be found in BAHR Magazine, Quarterly West, and Salt Hill Journal among others. She received her MFA from Pacific University and lives in Portland, OR. www.rana-tahir.com
Photos by author.