Envelope

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LENA KHALAF TUFFAHA

 
 

It happens that survival is ink and weight

of stamps arranging freedoms

into a precision of entrances and exits It happens

that a woman named for the camp where she waits

embroiders more than dresses more

than the flora and fauna of a land that has not seen

eglantines for years of rubble that has unhoused the rock

sparrows It happens that an epistolary love

becomes artifact its promises yellowing

its days a siege of unanswered questions

its pages a street where we decide finally to stay

It happens that a beloved might be granted passage

just before the building folds on itself

or just before a shrapnel rain disperses

the living It happens that to seal an envelope the tongue

though traditionally the site of first touch may be

insufficient a drought or a network of acid canyons

 score its surface and knotted beyond prayers

for loosening it becomes too heavy to carry on

the march to another border and which one of us

will become the story and which one of us

will be written and where will they send us

It happens that an envelope can wait in an abandoned drawer

that it can be too late to write what we have

lived It happens that a hunger can live on in a room

unpeopled like an open mouth like a soundless gasp