The Stories They Tell

By: Clara Rabbani

I envy the stories
They tell.
Of the East
And the West.

Of bare feet,
Guava trees,
Roasted fava beans.

Of tin water pails
That held curly-haired children
To keep the dust off their feet.

Of bus rides in the scorching heat.
Trips to the mountains
And to the Black Sea.

Of waves that
Drowned fathers
Who knew to build houses,
But not how to swim.

Of chickens
That ran like
They weren’t all there.
Of thieves
That were not at all

Of half-empty Coke bottles,
And cigarette boxes
In a child’s hand.
Between the fingers
Of a grown man.

Woven like
Grandfather’s carpets.
And tangled like the mosquito nets
Of the Amazon.

Of sour yogurt drinks
And the sour taste
Of a coin
In the mouth of a child.

Of flat roofs
That tempted the sleepless
At night.
Of men that were wolves,
And kept dreams alive.