“Or Did You Ever Wonder What It’s Like To Have Hot Flashes?” and Other Poems, by Hedy Habra

Or Did You Ever Wonder What It’s Like To Have Hot Flashes?
			 a pantoum after The Souls of the Mountain by Remedios Varo

Imagine a nebulous landscape covered with budding volcanoes 
See yourself emerge from one of its peaks head heavy with slumber
Gasping in the rarefied air you enter a liminal space where unlucky few
Forever trapped past conception are condemned to parthenogenesis 

See yourself emerge from one of its peaks head heavy with slumber
Think of your skin as a primed canvas permeable to imprints
Forever trapped past conception, condemned to parthenogenesis 
See how the change of seasons leaves indelible marks all over your body

Think of your skin as a primed canvas, permeable to imprints, 
You yearn for the sight of a veil billowing on a deserted deck’s caravel 
See how the change of seasons leaves indelible marks all over your body
Like the sfumato created by the passage of a candle over moist paper or canvas 

You yearn for the sight of a veil billowing on a deserted deck’s caravel 
Suddenly a cooling current lassoes drifts unfurling into ashen flames 
Like the sfumato created by the passage of a candle over moist paper or canvas 
Or a haze hiding a palimpsest of thoughts carried by windswept fumes 


First published by Rusted Radishes
Or Would it Have Made a Difference, Had I Known?
		a pantoum after The Bride by Safia Farhat

Little did I know that when I'd wear my wedding gown
I'd be crossing a revolving door to a path of no return 
At six I pricked my fingers with my needlepoint
Learning to be the best bride a man could wish for 

I'd be crossing a revolving door to a path of no return
Away from clearings where I'd dip my feet into the stream
Learning to be the best bride a man could wish for 
As I'd try not to burn myself with pots and pans

Away from clearings where I'd dip my feet into the stream
I bit my tongue to learn my mother-in-law's recipes 
As I'd try not to burn myself with pots and pans
Little did I know how heavy unwanted weights could be

I bit my tongue to learn my mother-in-law's recipes
Felt my heart shrink year after year till it lost its beat
Little did I know how heavy unwanted weights could be
With greying hair, I still feel the need for a warm touch

Felt my heart shrink year after year till it lost its beat
Night after night I slip silently between the sheets 
With greying hair, I still feel the need for a warm touch
Recapture an elusive smile in a face with receding features

First published by California Quarterly



Or Would She Ever Shed Her Many Faces? 
                                   After Born Again by Remedios Varo

                        She searches for clearings
            to gather sunrays
 on which she runs
                        her fingers,
listens to the mute music rise,
            curl into a bird’s song.
                        Lapis lazuli brushed over
            eyelids lined with kohl
curve into the Eye of Horus,
            land in the midst of a palm.
Follow the paths of rivers and rivulets, sense the echoes of dreams,
trap them in a net, hide them inside a Havana box filled with down,
then weave them into the many faces buried within you!
                        Warned against stagnant waters,
            she awaits the right time
to capture the moon’s
                        nascent reflection,
knows she has to cross this threshold,
            unite all masks collected
                        in deepest darkness,
            espouse her shadow,
contemplate her unquenched thirst
            without drowning.
Yours must be an inner vision not a mere sight, you could not withstand
facing what you bear within! Like a midwife, go on delivering dreams
and illusions, don’t worry if yours aren’t fulfilled!
                        Her mirror grows into a pond,
            a deep well reveals
veiled shapes
                        shedding
gilded gowns, one by one.
            She slips in lunar light,                       
                        hangs onto its asperities,
            climbs mountains
with seven-league boots,
            soars without wings.
First published by Sukoon Literary Journal

Hedy Habra is a poet, artist and essayist. She has authored three poetry collections, most recently, The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019), Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award, Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and Finalist for the Best Book Award. Tea in Heliopolis won the Best Book Award and Under Brushstrokes was finalist for the Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her book of criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa, examines the visual aspects of the Peruvian Nobel Prize Winner narrative. A sixteen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the net, and recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Award, her multilingual work appears in numerous journals and anthologies. https://www.hedyhabra.com/

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