Jan/Feb 2007 Poetry

Two Poems

by Corey Habbas

Artwork by Ira Joel Haber

Take It Back

Note: Hawwa—the Arabic name synonymous with Eve (Hebrew: Havva), the first woman.

I. Provocateurs

They've spread her across the map.
She's got slits and holes where none should be.
Long goes the extradition,

foliage seized from the covering
over careful scrutiny
as they laid.

II. Recipe for Temptation

If you see ‘nuts'
in an ingredient list
run the other way.

Transfer to a rock to cool.
Serve snakes

Pour honey over semolina.
Watch the sweet
disappear in her.

Oh, Hawwa, know your name.

III. Recovering Honor

Ya, Eve.
Hold on again.
Brace for a tremor.

To some you are a sinner, but
to me, you are the bibelot,

and the blood that runs
through your verecund veins
has been blamed for far too long.


My Optimism About Beruriah

Note: Beruriah was a great Talmudic scholar and the daughter of a Palestinian rabbi. She is a complicated character in Judaic history. Her story is full of complexity and rich in depth. Beruriah is a female Hebrew name that means selected by God.


Girls fight for dominance.
We eat grass, slide through mud.

My flesh flubbers
like Rashed Judeh
pummeled during a knockout
inside the prison wall.
Lablab, lablab.
As she hurls another punch
a labret opens up.

We shake it off.
She goes home.

The flummox dangles
around my neck.
It opens a memory
in my Arab ghetto,
but doesn't unlock a door.


Friday night. Women
in Black stand on street corners
in robes.

The rules say don't play
loud music, but sometimes I do.
Labdanum, labdanum.

Friday night she watches
from a distance and
skirts their shadows.

We watch each other hoping.

We push through the sidewalk,
past a broken necklace. Our red
knuckles bloom open.


We rush to a fountain.
Our flowering is a lagan. We both drink
the same turbid water.

We wilt against a wall. Men
come out at night. Street lamps
illuminate her fear. We know

we both agree
that we hate it
when boys watch.

They always try to break it up.
Then they start fighting about it.

We dip into dark circles
cast along the lachrymal road, and
I'll go home with her, humming
through this moral labyrinth.


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