Hedy Habra

hedy habra headshot 11 copy
BIO

Hedy Habra was born in Heliopolis, Egypt and is of Lebanese origin. She is the author of two poetry collections; Tea in Heliopolis (Press 53, 2013), winner of the 2014 USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award and Under Brushstrokes (Press 53, 2015). She also authored a story collection, Flying Carpets (Interlink, 2013),which earned Honorable Mention in the 2013 Arab American National Book Award and was a finalist for both the 2014 USA Best Book Award and Eric Hoffer Book Award. In addition, she has published a book of literary criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa (Iberoamericana, 2012). She is a recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, and her multilingual work has appeared in more than fifty journals and sixteen anthologies. These include Connotation Press, Poetic Diversity, Cutthroat, Verse Daily, Blue Fifth Review, Nimrod, New York Quarterly, Levure Littéraire, Drunken Boat, Diode, The Bitter Oleander, Cider Press Review and Poet Lore. She has a passion for painting and teaches Spanish at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.  She can be found online at HedyHabra.com.

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Beneath My Eyelids

I often step into that cave, vivid beneath my eyelids,
a turquoise cenote where tangled branches and twisted
limbs form a net over dripping rocky edges. This cove
is hidden, no one knows how to get there, not even me,
until I take that turn and slip like a sunken ship’s hull
pulled down by the currents to ocean depths where
light filters in dancing beams scented with longing,
resounding with faint echoes of the shadow of forgotten
words taking shape as arms surround me like vines.

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The Skin of Our Teeth

I feel like an empty shell
with nothing to tell
an abandoned instrument
gathering dust
on a coffee table next to the lampshade

until a feather irrupts, circles around
breaking their solitude
inanimate objects,

speckled motes
surround me
filling space with mute messages

the air becomes dense a gestation of words
unleashes patterns extending
rows of filtered sunrays
lined-up sparrows
resting on electric wires
crooked beaks menacing wings flutter

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A songbird I owned as a child
in Heliopolis

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I can still see raven’s wings hover through
bars feel my bird’s hopeless flight
as black feathers darken
the bulbul’s cage
and in a corner
hanging
its head
dripping blood

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The Colors of Dawn

Spring rains wash out tears and winter fears
Doves dip their wings in the colors of dawn
Children gather fallen petals, feather and down
Let’s weave a tapestry with a thousand petals!

Doves dip their wings in the colors of dawn
Cherry blossoms cover the veined branches
Let’s weave a tapestry with a thousand petals
Invent a new alphabet to record our dreams!

Cherry blossoms cover the veined branches
Let’s paint windows and doors on stonewalls
Invent a new alphabet to record our dreams
Fingers string beads carved-out of olive pits!

Let’s paint windows and doors on stonewalls
Hang rosaries on the highest limbs and towers
Fingers string beads carved-out of olive pits
Small hands gather pebbles to erase borders!

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