The last time you were here you mowed the lawn.
All winter, it stayed pretty much the same:
dormant, hardly ever stepped upon.
You know your father never speaks your name.

Unasked, you built a picket fence from scratch
out front, the only civilizing thing.
Now it guards the palace-mounds of ants.
Inside, we bad-mouth freedom, curse the spring,

our days a time-lapse sunscape dimming down
to night, where gardens are irrelevant.
You bought a car, sent pictures of your own
apartment bathed in light, a world we can’t

begin to comprehend or share. I send
my love and kisses as a repetend.

Over Puget Sound

A foghorn blues the hour when our ferry
heaves its disengagement from the ground
into a shroud of white that seems to marry
this hollow iron island on the Sound.

The shoreline leaves a tenuous impression
of where we were, as windblown mist surrounds
my view, and blurs my sense of destination
from simply Vashon Island. On the Sound,

mesmerizing waves transform the water,
a force of grey to which my thoughts are bound.
And as I watch the wake, what used to matter
drops beneath the hull where all is sound.

My eyes on deck now rapt where distant mountains
rise unveiled, their blue peaks silver-crowned,
then disappear to where the shifting curtains
of vision spread — islanding the sound

of pulse and chatter, words and silence floating
in a suspended animation of the drowned,
the focus neither passage nor unloading:
a static hum of eye, of land, of sound.

Touching Down in Paris

Our Egyptair flight lands in Paris rain,
a paradise of greys after the desert
fever-sun burns over Cairo’s dust
where traces of my heart lie dry and blistered
under stubborn skies immune to clouds.
Longed-for droplets on the window pane
refresh my senses. To land and be uplifted.
Here a mist’s fine silk so gently floats
its voile bouffant that I can almost taste
the weightlessness, its carbonated froth
held in thin-blown glass as we alight
inside a silver city where July
is served with crushed ice and a sprig of mint,
the sun a filtered orb sustained within it.


To cool your burn is something more
than what your hurried heart would think,
and my reaction time is slower.

I savor things, let hours pour
through raging words, add white to pink
to cool your burn. Find something more:

our tongues confiding extempore
their fervent love. Here at the brink
let our reaction time be slower

to pause the flares of either/or
where light’s extinguished in a blink.
To cool your burn needs something more,

not banging curses on the door
as if the world would fall in synch
with your reaction time. Be slower,

mixing bitters you abhor
with sweeter flavors as you drink
the cool and burn. It’s something more
than our reaction. Time is slower.

One thought on “Siham Karami

  1. The perfectly constructed sonnet “Distanced” describes so many different distances: physical, cultural, emotional, and the terrible seemingly unbridgeable chasm between father and child.

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