National Poetry Month Day 5: “Zahrada” by Fady Joudah


Welcome to The Rumpus’s National Poetry Month project. We’ll be running a new poem from a different poet each day for the month of April.


From the Moorish synagogue in Prague
Next to Kafka’s statue
The father wife and daughter headed to the cemetery

Death that has never been to the orthodontist
Death hiding death burying death Frankfurt Judengasse
Gates an echo nearby

They walked the streets and cubic cobblestones
The size of olive soap bars
From Nablus fascinated the child’s down drawn head
She was learning to daydream without stumbling

“Look up” the father said but she kept
Her gaze on the stones they the teeth she the fairy

She will carry one back with her on the plane
Another’s national treasure
The family will be greeted then asked to step aside
In a language they speak when home alone

On the bathroom mantle the stone will come to rest
Her sink is next to her mother’s sink
But the father remembers it differently

The word for garden was it
Borrowed from another’s tongue whose soldiers
And lovers were never in the galas this far north?

Or maybe from a time before the great diversions
Like cornea or cave or earth?

Sometimes the girl is disinterested in the cognate world
And she forgets all about the stones she’s gathered
From different summers

-Fady Joudah

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →