Baba’s faults were pouched in me, so red
and erratic that they had blown the power
in the northeastern half of the country.
From our stoop, we feel the night
sponging up the heat wave. The concrete
steps practice prose on my thighs.
Stars are splayed out from the roofs
across the street to the barbs of backyard fences.
Baba hooks his finger to the sky and translates
them like Arabic. Their beams snake through
the creases of his nightshirt. They sigh
in sheepish white on his nails. His great
bald head is a lunar eclipse; his voice softens
and bakes into the grass near my toenails.
One star drops to speckled nowhere
when he pulls away his finger.
He’d once told me “thank you” is shukran.
I remember its anatomy across my notepad.
Stellar magnificence scrawled on paper:
new, studied, magnified, familiar,
spoken, spoken, spoken. The palms of two
acquaintances are cinched and bobbing in the dark.
Jeannine Hennawi is a junior Writing, Literature & Publishing major who has always found fulfillment in poetry, but is now wetting her toes in the nonfiction realm as well. Once a steady contributor to her high school’s literary magazine and writing club, she is slowly reclaiming the habit of sharing her writing as often as possible. Hennawi has recently joined Emerson’s Simmer Magazine team, writing reviews for Boston’s tastiest eateries and experimenting with new recipes in her apartment kitchen. Any time not dedicated to poetry, reading, cooking, or studying is spent posting too many Facebook photos of her cats.