Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Fady Joudah





No Kissing, No Biting

A heart with nostrils     I keep submerged
and risk snuffing the part of my muscle you had settled,
from which you needed to be smoked out,
like a bee, I hope.
You keep the honey. Will you keep the honey?
In the last 6 months, I wrote you 37 letters,
211 in the past two years in batches of ten,
the first of them not much different from the last,
the reason I sent none.
In next week’s memo, I intend to explain:
since the chest pain you once caused me
has ended, your gifts to me have doubled.
For example, I now notice the distances
those things I hold so near inside me
slip out into. I don’t need to tell which one you are. 


This Time, Actual Bees 

The beehive in the front yard, inverted domes
in our water meter hole, a random event.

The bees would not miss us if the entire neighborhood went missing.
The reverse isn’t true. The mind goes to self 

as the self comes to mind. 
The mind tells the self, I made you,
and the self asks, who gave you that idea? 

The bears might notice. The clover fields and horses.
The beekeeper cost a good penny, smoked the bees 

out of their minds, removed the hive live, 
showed me the queen, 
guarantor of posterity.

Soon the bees recovered their senses, 
reentered their cabins, most of the cells intact.

And what do you do with the honey? I asked.
It’s for their wintering, she said.


Hablando de Vallejo y Darwish

Failed dreams sustain economies
and unlike the sea 
I move about dry land.
Thursday afternoon I fell asleep
to clouds giving birth
to dragons too young to fly
in the south of a country north of another. 
The sea wind was baking
mountain desires with leftover dough
wasting nothing. The lower clouds
ate the tattering baby
dragons or brushed them aside 
like a marine predator
sated and indifferent to the angst 
of shortage ignores its prey.
They’ll return when hunger returns.
I want to be that predator,
eat no more than I need 
of my dreams. 



Author photo courtesy of author

Fady Joudah is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Tethered to Stars (Milkeed Editions). More from this author →