Moon Grass Rain

By Fady Joudah b. 1971 Fady Joudah
1.
Here, shooting stars linger
They give out
A sparkling trail like a cauterized incision
 
Silver, or amber
If the moon is low and rising red
 
 
2.
And the rain melts the roads
And the roads
Can rupture a spleen
Or oust a kidney stone
 
As for the heart
It needs a beginning
The narrative
Burden of events
 
 
3.
“Mize, zey eat mize”
The Frenchman exclaimed with a smile
“Rraized and shipped from za States”
 
We raise rats! I thought
That’s a lot of protein!
 
“Maize maize!” it was, after our chickens
Have had their fill
 
 
4.
She was the only nurse in town before the war
She spoke seven languages and died suddenly
He was a merchant
He’s a doorman now and buys us cigarettes
 
 
5.
Here we are with love pouring out of every orifice
Here they are dancing
Around the funeral pyre, the corpse in absentia
 
 
6.
One of the drivers ran over the neighbor’s ducks
The neighbor demanded compensation
For the post-traumatic stress disorder he accurately anticipates
 
Do you know what it’s like
To drive on roads occupied
By animal farms: you cannot tell
Who killed who or how
Many ducks were there to begin with
 
 
7.
In the morning, elephant grass moves the way
Mist is visible in the breeze but doesn’t dampen the skin
 
 
8.
Today, I yelled at three old women
Who wouldn’t stop bargaining for pills they didn’t need
One wanted extra
For her grandson who came along for the ride
 
 
9.
Like lip sores
The asphalt blisters in the rain
 
And the boys
Fill the holes with dirt and gravel
And broken green branches
Then wait:
 
No windex. No flowers or newspapers
And gratuity is appreciated
 
 
10.
“I have ants in my leg”
And “My leg went to sleep”
Are not the same thing!
 
The French argue
There is no sleep in a tingling numbness
The symptom of sluggish blood:
 
I agree. Me too my leg has been anted
And we are learning to reconcile
The dark with the electric
 
 
11.
Four days the river runs to the border
Nine days to learn it wasn’t the shape
Of your nose that gave you away
And debts are paid off in a-shelter-for-a-day
 
A pile of wood plus change in your pocket
Is a sack of potatoes and change in another’s
 
 
12.
No more running long or short distance
The old women
Snicker at me when I pass them by
 
 
13.
She was comatose post-partum
And the beekeeper
Bathed her in love everyday
 
When she recovered I gave up
What he’d promised me for the woman
Who took up nursing their newborn
Since as coincidence would have it
Her name was Om Assel — Mother of Honey
 
 
14.
The translation of a medical interview
Is not a poem to be written
 
Come recite a verse from childhood with me
I see you’re unable to weep, does love
Have no command over you?
 
The sea’s like the desert
Neither quenches the thirst
 
 
15.
Here, dry grass burns the moon
Here, a clearing of grass is a clearing of snakes
 
 
16.
And the rain has already been cleansed from the sky
The clinic is empty, soon
The earth will unseal like a jar
Harvest is the season that fills the belly
 
 
17.
Here, I ride my bicycle invisible
Except for a crescent shadow and the Milky Way
Is already past
 
 
18.
And a mirror gives the moon back to the moon
Home is an epilogue:
 
Which came first
Memory or words?

Fady Joudah, “Moon Grass Rain” from The Earth in the Attic. Copyright © 2008 by Fady Joudah. Reprinted by permission of Yale University Press.

Source: The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008)

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Poet Fady Joudah b. 1971

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Weather, Religion

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Series/Sequence

 Fady  Joudah

Biography

Fady Joudah is a Palestinian American physician, poet, and translator. The son of Palestinian refugees, poet Fady Joudah was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up in Libya and Saudi Arabia. He was educated at the University of Georgia, the Medical College of Georgia, and the University of Texas.

Joudah’s debut collection of poetry, The Earth in the Attic (2008), won the 2007 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition and was a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Weather, Religion

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Series/Sequence

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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