Our night flight lands in Cairo, Queen of Sand,
whose shutters swallow city lights like quicksand.
Your sister serves us gritty sandwiches
of bread— to meet weight quotas— baked with sand.
We squander hours flagging speeding taxis.
I, the wilting comma. You, the ampersand.
I lose myself in crawlspace at the pyramid—
reduced, like any other grain of sand.
Imagine hoisting these huge stones this high.
Imagine labor measured by this sand.
Ocean-years have worn me down to driftwood,
light and bald. How much more will they sand?
Your relatives no longer want us here.
The weight of family ties, the spreading sand.
Meanwhile treasures beckon to young men.
Just keep digging deeper in the sand.
The ravenous light in Cleopatra’s eyes
awaits us all, too— coiled, an urge in sand.
This arrow in my heart is made of glass.
And when I die, who’ll sort its pearls from sand?
Originally published in Tilt-a-Whirl.
SIHAM KARAMI’s poetry has appeared in The Comstock Review, Pleiades, Measure, Able Muse, The Rumpus, Mezzo Cammin, Tupelo Quarterly Review, Literary Mama, Off the Coast, and Orchards Poetry. Nominated multiple times for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, she blogs at sihamkarami.wordpress.com. Her book of poetry, To Love the River, is now available on Kelsay Books and Amazon.