Hedy Habra







After the Storm 


Dead trees erect as Dali’s crutches,

hold broken branches in angled joints,

forsaken trophies no one reclaims, tangled

in old vines, disjointed, distorted bones,


elephant skin filled with memories

I wish to rip, fragment, discard, as I pull,

uproot trees still resisting, conjuring

up new shoots, refusing to give up.


I gather strewn twigs like an automaton

in an open-air ossuary revealing desecrated

fossils flown from thickets and tall branches,

pile them up at the farthest end of the creek,


throw them away with all my strength,

watch the arc they form in the air,

see how they land on the other side

in a cemetery of lost illusions.


I reach for a hanging branch with blue patina,

a sunken treasure the color of my dreams,

its hollow, brittle limbs easy to break,

tsik…tsik, one by one, tsik…tsik…tsik…


Others, I leave on the side of the paths,

sculptures too heavy to lift, nature’s

Petri dishes, grounds for rippled

mushrooms writing their own memoir

in the hidden calligraphy of their folds.



First published by Danse Macabre

From Under Brushstrokes (Press 53 2015)

Hedy Habra




Obsessive Compulsion


I knew a woman who spent hours in front

of her magnifying mirror, chasing split hairs

like a huntress.  She’d enter the intricacy of

parallel lines, watch forking tips grow into

reeds, swelling into bamboo shoots painted in

Chinese ink over transparent rice paper through

which she saw her son falling from a cliff, light

as a clipping, he lies at the bottom of the dark

ravine, his foot severed, tshuk tshuk tshuk

crisscross, cuts the slightest twist, he’s being

raised with pulleys, in a fog she wanders in

deserted streets unable to find her way back,

she’d forgotten her own name, thinking of her

son’s severed foot bleeding, his thick fragrant

blood an oddity in the night scented with

rosemary and lavender, she thinks of mountain

lions, coyotes, a jugular vein prey to canines

sharper than shears, hears feline raspy tongues

licking the wound, refuses to see the man’s body

tremble, the tense hardening of muscles prior

to rigor mortis that would come so fast, yes,

he shouldn’t suffer she prays, eyes closed, finds

herself back in front of her bathroom mirror

holding the scissors, holding her breath, yes,

it was only an illusion and her son was recovering

now with nails stuck into his leg, surgeons cleaned

the wound nine hours long, gloved hands cut

tshuk tshuk sawed scraps, sewed back tissues

and bones, the rest of him whole, tshuk tshuk tshuk

the crisscrossing cuts the slightest deviance, none

will escape, crisscross she aims, tinkers with precision.



First published by Drunken Boat

From Under Brushstrokes (Press 53 2015)




Tea at Chez Paul’s


We ate Schtengels at Chez Paul’s,

twisted breads sprinkled with coarse salt

clinging to our lips.

We could see the sea enfolding us

through the tall bay windows

of the semi-circular Swiss teahouse.

You described a Phoenician Tale

just for me,

how the mountain slopes

reddened each spring

with Adonis’ blood,

how this delicate flower,

truly and duly Lebanese

has come to be called a red poppy, an anemone,

with all its melodious variations,


un amapola,

un coquelicot,

ed anche un papavero…


We walked through a field scattered

with red poppies bright as when Ishtar

sprinkled nectar

on her beloved’s blood.

Time seemed elastic then,

space infinite.

I wished to bring home a handful of scarlet light,

to keep the softness of its wrinkled petals

alive a while longer.

The moment I cut Adonis’ flower,

hanging like a broken limb, its corolla fell over my hand,

head too heavy with dreams.

No wonder blossoms tremble

on their fragile stem.


Sometimes love is only real when not uprooted.

Isn’t there a geography of every emotion?

not a precious, intricate Carte du Tendre,

but a trail of forgotten footsteps mapping

every heartbeat, every motion?

A stairwell, a car, a booth, a parking lot,

 a streetlight, a gateway,

an old-fashioned reverbère,

a Bus Stop or maybe a tree, a tree stump,

a moss-covered path, a pond,

 a small creek, a flat stone,

a hill, a porch or even a wooden bench? 


Take the poppy, for instance.  It will only breathe

and give joy at its birthplace.

I can still feel the small flower melting

into liquid silk in my palm.

I held the red petals to my cheek

like a morning kiss while you kept telling how Ishtar

or as some may say Astarté, often mistaken for Isis,

was truly her Phoenician incarnation,

before she was ever called Aphrodite or Venus.

I remember how you talked and talked

until we both stepped into Ishtar’s temple.



First published by Nimrod International Journal

From Tea in Heliopolis (Press 53 2013)











Hedy Habra Bio


Hedy Habra has authored two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes, finalist for the USA Best Book Award and the International Book Award, and Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Awards, she was a five-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her work appears in Cimarron Review, The Bitter Oleander, Blue Fifth Review, Cider Press Review, Drunken Boat, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Poet Lore, World Literature Today and Verse Daily.


Her website is




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