Sara Elkamel: Two Poems

Alfred Wallis, St. Ives, 1928. Source:


To build something together one last time
there are so many questions,
like who would live there,
and if no one, why build it?

In our panic we make a house
that looks like a boat,
which reminds me of dreaming
both of us were angels, sleeping at sea.

When we lay the boat down
in the cemetery of love,
we squat over one of its three windows,
and wave to ourselves through the glass.



Tablets I
after Dunya Mikhail

I wanted to write on love’s face
with a finger
so I went to the sea.
I found a girl and a black door—
We have to save the wind, said the girl.
Save the poet, said the door.

In the dream my love was a small house
in a big flood.

I didn’t sleep last night.
I lost you
and woke in another bed.

My love drowned and took my eyes.
Should I cry for my love
or cry for my eyes?

When the women run
their shadows
are the shadows of birds.

Your life is a garden of hours,
an hour inscribes sun’s smolder on your temple, an hour death—
but whose life isn’t?

Even at the sea, there is no water for me.

My love keeps forgetting he is an ocean.
Is the ocean my love,
or is my love an ocean?

When we leave
we take our terrors and terrors
cull light from the wind.

I found your name on night’s broad face.