“BEIRUT” by Silva Merjanian

Beirut

Over there
all that happened
(and didn’t happen)
folded
packed in mental mothballs
stories fading with licked creases
some reduced and softer versions

wonder why I preserve breaths
forced through my lungs in those days
stringed around the eye of a hurricane
circling, demonic, nameless
shaking me shameless for a day

on nights when a collective sigh stings
and I can’t tell
which tale will toll for me
and which nocturnal howl
will lift the dust

through endless times
relive slivers
on a pink tip of my tongue
afraid to bite a dreamt memory
that it might hemorrhage
bleed the night

I want a dripping whiff of that afternoon coffee
instinctively bitter, solemnity and hot
ten minutes when lonely hearts
willed an arching cease fire
and time hovered among us
long enough for my mother
to build castles in my cup

over there
the man flying his doves
on the roof across two streets
remains a blur
but the doves stirring the air
in perfect shades of unison
(I had named them after heroes long forgot)
sometimes still raise dust in my room
of their feathers’ aches and plight

I believed then
I could break away
would break away

I did one day
the doves were left to die

over there
at dusk my father played the mandolin
and my mother’s voice filled all the gaps
between our breaths –
the dam that held surpluses of war
long enough for us to shed in dreams

why do I long for hell
on nights
when I can’t sieve my sigh from the wind’s eye
and I wonder if I ever broke away
from a circle named dead doves

perhaps
scent of jasmine
still smells like home
back home in the rain

© Silva Merjanian

Excerpt from the 2015 collection, Rumor, reviewed and published along with an interview of Silva Merjanian HERE. Beirut is published today with the permission of the poet and is under copyright.