Hedy Habra: "Words Hovering over Pond"



           —After Remedios Varo’s Encounter


She loosely folds a muslin wrap around her 

slender body, waves swirl in suspension 

from head to toes as she dresses and undresses 

away from her own reflection. You’d think 

she’s getting ready for a performance, but 

mirrors are banned from her walls, their 

shattered shards buried in small boxes stacked 

on shelves, their dark lids gathering dust like

archived journals, each filled with forgotten

objects, mute messages, layers shed from her past. 


Each time she tries to open a box, hesitant, 

she sees her fractured self staring, keeps

the lid half-open like a half-open notebook

lest she’d stumble on the tumult of empty 

words, ellipses, mostly silence. 

Each time she faces this startled look, she slowly

lowers the lid, won’t let the voice utter the same 

unsettling questions hovering over her dreams, 

over her dilated pupils still like the satin surface

of a pond, won’t let her repeat what she already knows.


Hedy Habra has authored two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes, finalist for the 2015 USA Best Book Award, and Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the 2014 USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention. She is a recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award. Her work appears in Cimarron Review, Bitter Oleander, Blue Fifth Review, Cider Press Review, Drunken Boat, Nimrod, Verse Daily, Poet Lore, World Literature Today and elsewhere.