Yara’s Grandfather’s Garden
Yara knows the type of weapon being used
from its sound. She paints the flowers
she remembers in her grandfather’s garden:
lilacs pecked at by hummingbirds
like dead bodies are pecked at by jackals,
red roses like the soldier
who coughs up blood from the smoke
in the scorched wheat fields of Hama
and jasmines white like the helmets
of the men who come to save
the children from the war.
Everything is strange and blurry because Yara lost
her glasses after the roof collapsed on them.
Her paintings look like Van Gogh’s, blue,
spotty, and Post-Impressionistic. She was scared
of silly things like rain. Every night her nose
bleeds and her eyes are inflamed. She needs
to see a doctor but the government bombs
the triage near her house. In a night without a moon,
the power went off. Yara heard the explosions.
Unable to see, Yara heard the screams
get louder and louder. She waited her turn
before her family fled to her grandfather’s house.
They were safe and the power came back on.
Yara rubbed her eyes to try to make out the flowers
in her grandfather’s garden. But they looked
different: distorted, grotesque, like the faces
that belonged to the screams she heard.
Seif-Eldeine is a Syrian-American poet with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Tufts University and an MFA in Poetry from Lesley University. He has received a fellowship from the Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow. He was a finalist for the Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship, the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize, the Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest, and the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. He has been published in Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Qu.