The Southern

To those who covet not but the truth, and the absent faces



Have I ever been a child?
Or is that, joyful child, someone else?

A family portrait
Sitting was my father
And standing was I
My arms dangling

A punt of a mare
Left me, with a wounded forehead, marred
And taught a wary heart

My blood shedding, I remember
Bleeding passed my father, I remember
The road to his grave, I remember
My toddler sister, I remember

The road to her timeworn grave, I remember not

Was that child me?
Or someone else?
Staring am I
Yet, those genuine lineaments
belong to me not
And the kindness-quivering eyne
belong to me not

To my own self, a stranger I became
And from the strange years,
left merely is the echo of my name
And the names of those I, accidentally, remember
from the obituaries

Those the unknowns; my childhood friends
Resurrected from the silence,
one face after the other
And we gather every dawn
to commemorate


He inhabited my heart
And I, his room, inhabited
We shared the bed
The bread
The smoke
And the borrowed book

Deserted him his lover in the morning
Thence he slashed his veins in the afternoon
But, in two days,
ripped her picture, and was astonished

Fought two wars with the commandos,
without a scar
Retired from war
Came back to a new house
And a new job
Smokes an entire pack
And, around the aroma of tea, quibbles with his friends
But does not stay long

Visited the doctor with swollen tonsils
To the surgery room
took merely slippers
and a thermometer

Suddenly passed
His heart survived not the seeping drug
The years of agony, from his face, receded
A youngster, again, he looked
Sharing, with me, the bed
The bread,
The smoke,
but not the grief


And from the far south
came a construction worker
Climbing a scaffold and singing for the horizon
Sitting, outside a cafe, I was
With astray eyne
Reading, half a newspaper, I was
Hiding, with the other half, the dirty table
Only have I suddenly found two dead eyne
and a line of blood
Leaned I checking his pulse
He is dead“; said someone
Covered he was, with half the newspaper
And lost, I became


Would that Asmaa had known, ascended her dad!
He passed not
Shall pass he who lived
as tho endless is life
as tho served is drinks
as tho pretty girls walk on water

Noble he lived, while
his heart bowed; finding what it lost
Would that Asmaa had known, her dad,
Whom love and friends memorized his face
while laughing
while pondering
while finding thy sustenance
Would that Asmaa had known
The pretty girls
Had hid him in their diaries
Taught him how to walk
and not be seen


Do you want some of the ocean?
The southern Sir fears not but two;
the ocean and a deceitful woman
I shall bring you some sand from the ocean

And bit by bit he faded in his shadow
Till I could not see him

Do you want a bit of wine?
The southern Sir dreads not but two;
a bottle of wine and a gadget
I will bring you some ice

And bit by bit he faded in his shadow
Till I could not see him

And when I could not find my friends
neither brought me any thing
Do we need a little bit of patience?

The southern Sir covets being that he never was
Covets not meeting but two;
The truth, and the absent faces

Wael AbdAlmageed

Pittsburgh, November 22, 2021

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