Poetry: Fady Joudah


And when all hell broke this and that
and teeth began to chatter the ice storm in the heart

was thawing out at missile speeds through pupils
that not inhalation constricts or exhalation dilates
a global warming in gumless mouths

The stench of corpses
in whose direction all lips moved
for irises fixed on decomposition

In times like these
something has to be said in a language
good for burial


The first time I ate a crab sandwich I was a boy and loved it
it wasn’t for another ten years that I found out it was imitation crab

Soluble salty rubber
two waters at the confluence of their steady eddy synapse
my triceps fat pressed to your triceps fat

on a bench inside a museum’s dark room
video installation of two bodies dancing

Me in my stillness
you in your movement
what the moving know about stillness
the still don’t know and vice versa

The Greek Myth professor lectured to us
in his voice of reading children stories to children

And docked me points when I remembered the tales
but couldn’t spell the names


Skin strikes skin over plate and within
the frame whose borders are laser-hung
by players who render umpires surplus

What I propose insists on return:
I return you to you you return me to me
or me to me and you to you
return is only to the stranger

Otherwise this thing between our nipples
and knees will mar life for life
what is reflex what is fasciculation
my boredom which you call my loneliness
our pose as entries in the glossary of vision

Our error was mutual:
I did not want to be someone else’s dream
and you have enough of what incinerates
for the light inside you to shine
free of soot

Our bodies blend as alibis
and your cherries are black
as long we as are bodies on screen

fady joudahFady Joudah’s most recent poetry collection, Textu, is from Copper Canyon Press. His most recent translation is Petra: the Concealed Rose, from Tavern Books.