Monday, September 26, 2005

Dear relatives who have contacted me, or are thinking of contacing me, to make sure I haven't perished because of Rita

I have not. Please
stop calling at what is
on my end of the world
a reasonable hour,
on yours,
not. I am alive and well.
Worry not!

The real tragedy, dear relatives,
is that this happened
this weekend here.
Worse than getting flooded out
is not getting to chill
at my regular coffee shop
because there were too many
annoying non-Austinites
drinking iced lattes.
They suck.

I don't know what it is about them
that I despise:
the girls' golden lame' handbags?
The guys' emo haircuts?
Or maybe it's that they'll get to leave Austin
when it's over,
and I won't?

But enough about me.
How are you?
Mama, you live so close
to car bombings and fires
and such,
I worry about you.

You are in the same city
Arafat caught his mystery
illness in. How is Ramallah?
Ya allah!
How I miss it,
and miss you!

I heard the windows in the old
house in Jenin have been blown out
and re-installed more times
than I've visited it.
I worry about you.

Cousin in Alexandria,
surrounded by boredom and sounds:
when you leave the house,
or even while indoors,
when you begrudgingly go about your chores,
you can hear the athaan in the distance,
the neighbor's daughter's yawn,
the milkman on his bicycle
balancing his tins on his shoulders.
I hope your dream comes true,
and you find a job soon.

Here it is quiet
and lonely
what a neat trick you've all played
by calling,
it's you I miss,
you for whom I worry.
I'd almost given up hope
that we had anything left in common
but our worry unites us
at odd hours, on the phone.


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