In her (son’s) new house Aunt Lina says | Philipe Abi Youness

close all the windows  and let

the onions soften

exhale their old life into these walls

let the cinnamon stick

sink and languish

with whatever ghosts

split this home

they may flicker the lights

dig cracks into the windows

and we will float

bay leaves in a pot of beans

makhlouta  mixed

the long dwellers and the past

half living  even ghosts

traverse body  or brick before arriving

the way we bound  from Beirut to Cyprus

Philadelphia and New Jersey

forgetting the lamb bone  still on the stove

coming up for air  over and over

and sinking back down

to love the water  over and over

flick  the rose water

on all the glass  wrought from

ancestral dirt  a ghost

is anything  that remains  and this home

is not rented is not sprout  in a field of war

this can be left  with our claw marks

and our bites and our bodies sleeping

the rice has softened

and the pot is rife with spices

all to tell the ghosts  freely hanker

this can be ours together

collect and gather  for dinner

you have had a long way here

Philipe Abi Youness is a Lebanese-American poet, theatre artist, and educator. His work is featured or forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Maps for Teeth, PANK, and Sukoon magazine. Philipe is a graduate of Drew University, where he won the Academy of American Poets Prize. He was recently named honorable mention in the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Competition. As a teaching artist, he has taught workshops in Beirut, the Bronx, Manhattan, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York State.