Open-Air Cinema in Heliopolis

Tea_in_Heliopolis_cover

Open-Air Cinema in Heliopolis

by Hedy Habra

You used to say, mother:
“Let me see your face when lit
by a crescent moon:
every day of the month
will smile the way you do.”

We saw double-feature movies
in open-air theatres.
The cool breeze ran through our hair,
over our necks, lifted our skirts,
swayed us in a magical carpet.

Tempted by vendors chanting
Greek cheese and sesame breads,
we often stayed, sipping icy lemon
granitas through replays, the lift
and pause of cascading light.

Characters entered our own
camera obscura.
We never agreed on their age:
you added a few years,
I wanted them closer to mine.

I remember a recurrent scene,
fading now into a sepia cameo,
where a woman—always the same
yet different—slaps a man
before falling in his arms.

I watched your face then,
as stars outlined the sky,
the slight opening of the lips,
the Gioconda’s elegant smile
you allowed yourself,
befitting the sfumato of the late hours.

Arm in arm, we walked home,
following the trail of the moon.

 

***

Hedy Habra was born in Egypt and is of Lebanese origin. She is the author of a short story collection, Flying Carpets, and a book of literary criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa. She has an MA and an MFA in English and an MA and PhD in Spanish literature, all from Western Michigan University, where she currently teaches. She is the recipient of WMU’s All-University Research and Creative Scholar Award and a Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship Award. She writes poetry and fiction in French, Spanish, and English and has more than 150 published poems and short stories in numerous journals and anthologies, including Drunken Boat, Cutthroat, Nimrod, Puerto del Sol, The New York Quarterly, Cider Press Review, Poet Lore, Poetic Voices Without Borders 2, Inclined to Speak, and Dinarzad’s Children Second Edition. For more information, visit www.hedyhabra.com. The above poem is reprinted from her 2013 collection Tea in Heliopolis.

This entry was posted in Literature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s