Vox Populi

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Lena Khalaf Tuffaha: Lullaby

We cannot carry you,
our arms warm and dry
too late at the shore
of what has cradle-fallen
what sent a woman who fears the sea
what sent a man who fears the burning
skies of his country
into the razor-edged waves.


We cannot carry you,
tiny boat capsized,
upturned fish floating
in the glass bowl of our screens.


We cannot carry you.
We sink deeper, beyond
the midnight zone.
How to measure the trenches
of our silence, little one?


We want things smaller than we know.
A vessel strong enough
to lift you into tomorrow,
a life jacket or two,
a pair of small shoes
pressing into the sand.

From Arab in Newsland by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha (Two Sylvias Press, 2017). Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha has lived the experiences of first-generation American, immigrant, and expatriate. Her heritage is Palestinian, Jordanian, and Syrian. She has lived in and traveled across the Arab world, and many of her poems are inspired by the experience of crossing cultural, geographic and political borders. 

One comment on “Lena Khalaf Tuffaha: Lullaby

  1. Barbara Huntington
    May 14, 2021

    So beautiful. So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

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