the poem


the poem
flowed from her heart
in Arabic
her hands shaping the air
beating her breast
tears falling
down her aging face

the translation
more halting
pulling images of love and loss
from a foreign language

this treasured gift
received as we sat together
on white plastic chairs
under a generous moon
passion fruit hanging
from vines overhead

– emkh, 4nov2018
(remembering Beit Sahour)

pickin’ beans


pickin’ beans with my mama

after decades in our roles
a rhythm of work and speech
is rooted
deep in our bones

she begins at one end of the garden row
I at the other
and our voices mingle in the middle

community news
snippets from travels
weather forecasts
plans for a family wedding

this comfortable pattern
carries us through harvesting tasks

later as I sit snipping beans
readying them for blanching and freezing
I glance down
to see my mother’s hands

– emkh, 29jul2018



she carried her weary heart
into the garden
early in the morning
as she does

admiring unfurling petals
tending broken vines
reassuring slow growers
cautioning overtakers

the wrens attended
as they do
turning insects and oxygen
into persistent song

reminding her
life is here


– emkh, 10jun2018




just when we feel forgotten
amid an intransigent winter

ice breaks
and living water gushes

drenching the soil and our souls

bringing a cacophony of geese and crane voices
crocus and sage sightings

sun on our faces
warm breezes on our skin

dusty and dormant fragments
of our hearts
are welcomed into this flourishing

– emkh, 22apr2018