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"Head in the Clouds," photography by Eleanor Bennett

Hedy Habra


The Dance


You once taught me the geometry of music, how every musical phrase melts into lines, twist and turns, curves and shapes broken by sound: In awe, I watched you read the astrolabe, tell the rising and setting times of the sun.  Partners for so long on that dancing floor, we glide with apparent ease over its mosaic configurations, arguing constantly with our minds while our bodies, oblivious of words’ rough edges hissing like serpents coiled in our ears, make us spin as though our feet were clad in shoes with a mind of their own. Architect of our sempiternal altercations, you measure with angular rectitude the slightest sway: isn’t a swing for you but a simple equation, our motion, an inverted pendulum? You take the lead, I follow. Forced to play by your rules, unwilling to hold a ruler straight, I saw you draw pointed angles that stop the heart from beating: with time, I’ve learned to slide over lines and hide in corners.  I will not be the shadow of your pendulum.




I have no name, no face, no age. I have lost track of my birthplace: blown by the slightest breeze, I’ve crossed continents and shores, flown over dunes and quarries, known the brush of leaves and grass, even rested in ponds after being swept by crested tides, always unseen, but never lonely, my edges smoothed by rubbing against ruby, garnet, coral, quartz, shells, endlessly smoothing each other’s skin, surviving the heat of scorching sun drowning in carmine sea until that last sacrifice on the pyre where our blood melts into layers and layers of crimson petals opening up in their last frozen gesture.  Is anyone aware that I am forever prisoner in that translucent flower?


Time off

    Zeus once took the shape of a bull, a swan...


The blond girl is exhausted: a petal flowing in her hand like a golden scarf, eyes closed, she reclines her head. She knows this is only the first round. The giant sunflower only lost a few petals scattered over the staircase. All the gilded creature could do was tear her dress apart, reveal her pubescent body, her delicate skin now covered with pollen even more desirable to his touch. Nearby, her dark haired sister’s mane is electrified, strands wiggling like cobras. Fists closed she’s ready to fight the tired creature lying still, his multifaceted eye staring, petals erect, stamen reeking with nectar around his multifaceted eye...

Do not be fooled.  He will attack with renewed strength.  Will he give the kiss of death before her sister opens her eyes?



Hedy Habra’s work has appeared in journals such as Puerto del Sol, The New York Quarterly, Pirene’s Fountain, Nimrod, Cutthroat, Cider Press Review, Poet Lore, among others and in many anthologies, such as Inclined to Speak and Poetic Voices Without Borders 2.  She is the author of a collection of short stories, Flying Carpets (March Street Press) and a scholarly book Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa (Iberoamericana Vervuert). Her collection of poetry Tea in Heliopolis is forthcoming from Press 53.

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Summer 2012 Issue