Cairo

Mother, I’m a Thief

I needed a wooden box to store all
my leftover love; so I
stole one from my mother’s cabinets
which, incidentally, store her dresses from back when
her hair met her thighs
on every Cairo street
And fought with her shoulders
in cursed bedroom heat
My mother was the kind of pretty on the faces of assassins –
growing to life,
I stole her complexion;
and growing to walk,
I stole her black polka dot heels,
which extended me higher, up to her chest,
but never to her dreams –
because the second she first saw me,
I was already there:
I have “My Mother’s Greatest Dream” written
on my forehead
in the eyes of God.

This wooden box here I stole from my mother
is not the first thing I steal
a quick peak at my record would reveal –
a litany of crimes; I should be hanged.
But up there, hanging by the split skin of my neck,
I would not be able
To wipe my mother’s tears
should I have to, from her eyes
(which are mine – I have her eyes too)
And I know Death is an hardheaded fellow
who cares nothing for pleas; but please
not today, Death, not tonight
while her breaths still increase –

A mother from Egypt is a queen bee
who still does all the building work;
that’s why her cabinets are full
of kitchen utensils,
and clothes she bought – for my sisters and me;
That they will never use,
and neither will he!
But a mother worries, believes – and yet
Cares nothing for thieves; how else
Have I stolen so much from her
– from all the different cabinets of her life –
And never been punished?

And this, my last offense, a wooden box to steal;
And hide in all the greatest
I’ve ever owned to feel
I have a lot of love that needs to live longer
Than my loves have ever lived! – stowed away,
preserved whole, until the day
I unpack it; the only prayer I make
is that our life – ours, you and me –
is only starting;
timing is a bitch, darling
I know that better now –
and now isn’t the when my love needs
That, I’ll allow – but hey
I’m going for checkmate anyway
And my back never to bow
Today, with this wooden box with all my love-things inside
I figured out – how.