Poetry & Democracy

With Friends

With Friends

Even the apocalypse sounds better
     when I imagine it with friends
over pancakes and eggs, saying yes please
      to the waitress who pours another cup
of coffee as we ponder powers we'll possess
     when street signs lacquer in ash,
skylines sink to a heap of leaves,
     salt swallows tunnel after tunnel.
Thank goodness Suha will breathe
     underwater, ferrying elders, stray cats
to the make-shift shelter where
     Shirin will welcome newcomers
with a clean pillow case and flask
     of ginger tea not far from
Viju's clinic in a broken-down Astro mini-van
     where she'll heal fractured ribs
with eucalyptus and lavender while
     Faria keeps watch from peaks of conifers
ready to fling knives, sling shot fireballs
     to fend off nazis, neo nazis, what a world
we'll create as the world is dying.
     Hala will climb six-story brick walls,
break into deserted apartments to gather
     what so many of us left behind – love
letters, nail clippers, jars of honey, which
     Meghna will catalogue in archives of diaries,
math proofs, polaroid's of Sundays on the beach.
     So what if we'll be blue and beat?
Serena will chronicle stories of beheaded trees as
     Sandra stiches tattered books
for the underground library because
     we'll need to keep reading, won't we,
even as we're dying? Marwa will write poems
     on the bottom of stones as
Nitika sculpts prayers from tar and glass,
     and look, over there, is that
Vega crocheting hats from dead weeds next to
     Mala strumming barbed wire in melody?
Some days we'll be so lost, which way is South?
     Amir will point to the secret map
on the soles of our feet, and as we cross corridors
     of smoke, we'll hear messengers on foot,
Param and Udi running mile upon mile,
     bunker to bunker with news
of those we thought we lost – alive,
     building rooms from twigs and aluminium cans,
rooms that can hold us all,
     lit with lanterns, pinned with windows,
where some nights, if we're still enough,
     we might hear the counsel of rain.

All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

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