Lipstick by Faleeha Hassan

I am not a silent poet

 A Babylonian once told me:

When my name bores me,

I throw it in the river

And return renewed!

* * * * * *

*Basra existed

Even before al-Sayyab* viewed its streets

Bathed in poetry

As verdant as

A poet’s heart when her

Prince pauses trustfully to sing

While sublime maidens dance–

Brown like mud in the orchards

Soft like mud in the orchards

Scented with henna like mud in the orchards—

And a poem punctuates each of their pirouettes as

They walk straight to the river.

I’ve discovered no place in the city broader than Five Mile.

He declared:

I used to visit there night and day,

When sun and moon were locked in intimate embrace.

Then they quarreled.

The Gulf’s water was sweet,

Each ship would unload its cargo,

And crew members enjoyed a bite of an apple

And some honey.

The women were radiant;


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