Hedy Habra is the author of a poetry collection, Tea in Heliopolis, 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. Her multilingual poetry and fiction has been published 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 here.
After Dali’s Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus”
Once, my son, these plains were swaying with golden wheat, blue hues would appear after seasonal rains as a prayer for harvest. Now the horizon has become deeply dyed in laundry blue, the day seems steeped in vivid aquamarine, as though the sea had decided to look upon us from above. Across the valley stands the first couple, head bent from time immemorial, a petrified proof of what mankind was able to achieve. Since then no drops of water have fallen, no seed has unfolded its wings, there are no longer workers bent in the fields, only these remnants of a past when we could eat from our sweat. Now we rely on words unsaid, stilled by colors, only allowed to move when lights are out, condemned to observe the barrenness around us.
Come, son, we shall circle the human ruins, hand in hand, rest under the coolness of their elongated shadow: we can enter the arched doors and climb the inner stairs to enjoy the breathtaking view from the man’s hollow heart and the woman’s generous thighs, even reach higher into the curve of her hands held like a vessel gathering dew for the birds that nest in the fissures of the stones. See my son, only now can we move freely about the canvas. Let’s follow that fragile light filtered through the cerulean canopy; see how it leads the way to the inviting doors? Let’s hurry before life resumes in the hallways and someone notices our absence.
The Ages of Man
She lives with a man she now softly calls a living dead, fingers covering her lips, like a feathered fan, she whispers more than proffers these words, feels trapped, yes, as walls shrink around her, getting closer each day. She who never had children, is nursing her no longer lover. Always by his side, rubbing his failing limbs, calming his speeding pulse. He has aged so much after his illness, she thinks, watches how his skin fails to wrap the bones, hanging in places like the folds of a handed down garment. He suddenly awakens at night anguished, fears the sandman, needs to lie next to her and hold her hand. She dreams of opening the door wide-open, of stepping out to the light, to an uninterrupted sleep.
Musical Score in Pearly Layers
A gigantic snail sailing in the brume over misty grass stops smothered by the haze: or did the cello’s music refrain his slimy progression? Head tilted, the mollusk seems only attentive to his vibrant antennae while the man seated on a folded chair embraces his instrument, and desperate notes rise, spiraling through the coiled corridors of the voluminous shell, oblivious of the bike left to the care of the tall cello case standing like a Swiss guard. The cellist thinks himself a sailor about to climb into a caravel flaunting its aerial antennae as a prow, while his bow strums strings in circular motion, sound waves swell, resonate inside the convoluted chambers, searching for the apex of the shell, where the snail’s heart beats. Suddenly notes grow wings, leave the musical score, fly freely in flocks around the raised translucent wands guiding their flight.