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Sample Poems by Pauline Kaldas

After Church

He stands alone
so no one will be bothered
by the twitchings of his mouth.

Tell me, do you lose
the words you do not speak?

“What is there to eat,” you asked
standing in line to receive
something other than the body and blood.
“You're fasting,” your wife
said, “there's nothing to eat.”
And you held out your hand
with only two dimes from your pocket
asking for coffee with powdered milk
because fasting means to cleanse yourself
from the animal. She turned from you
and you looked at your hand
but twenty cents could not give you the words.

The Man Whose Ola Cart Fell Over

A man pulls his cart piled with clay olas
maneuvers the knotted traffic
olas for sale to contain cool water
quench the sand starched mouth

Futile to unlock this tongue
I'm lost here
mazed into a pattern of textures and rhythms
snatched by the clutches of the tied bird of prey in the zoo
out of tune with the peacock caged in the pet store
stitched into the canvas of human sweat
to divulge the secret of this magnet that draws us near
a reckless gesture stumbles into the ola cart
scatters clay shards
and continues


Why dreams blood colored
suggest sky colors
earth mixed with sea
to yellow green red of feast days
a thousand crowds picnic
among sidewalk grass.

Holidays are full of little girls in ruffled dresses, hard leather shoes,
pigtails and ribbons, socks with lace
growing up into tight dressed high heeled teenager
swinging her round of butt across Sunny's Supermarket
aware of her hair
swaying her back.

The fruit seller's son scratches his head,
stares at the daughter
light brown hair and blue shoes   clicked away
entering a crowded bathroom, the mirror catches
the whiff and curl adjusted midway to forehead,
a madonna Barbie, 100 pound price tag.

Crowned, adorned with Ken
providing French bedroom decor
the breeze's slight wisp into the stark undertone
of lace curtains drowned with yellow daisies
to undo the buttons.

Double Threads

In the Siwa Oasis, Abeela wants 35 pounds
for the woven straw sack

She knows the value of foreign desire
her bills a tight roll

But her sister Amer is still empty handed
henna scribbled palms