Naomi Shihab Nye
Blood by Naomi Shihab Nye

Blood by Naomi Shihab Nye

"A true Arab knows how to catch a fly in his hands,"my father would say. And he'd prove it,cupping the buzzer instantlywhile the host with the swatter stared.In the spring our ...

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Hidden by Naomi Shihab Nye

Hidden by Naomi Shihab Nye

If you place a fernunder a stonethe next day it will benearly invisibleas if the stone has swallowed it.If you tuck the name of a loved oneunder your tongue too longwithout ...

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Different Ways To Pray by Naomi Shihab Nye

Different Ways To Pray by Naomi Shihab Nye

There was the method of kneeling,a fine method, if you lived in a countrywhere stones were smooth.The women dreamed wistfully of bleached courtyards, hidden corners where knee ...

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Alaska by Naomi Shihab Nye

Alaska by Naomi Shihab Nye

The phone rang in the middle of the Fairbanks night and was always awrong number for the Klondike Lounge. Not here, I'd say sleepily. Differentplace. We're a bunch of people ...

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Two Countries by Naomi Shihab Nye

Two Countries by Naomi Shihab Nye

Skin remembers how long the years growwhen skin is not touched, a gray tunnelof singleness, feather lost from the tailof a bird, swirling onto a step,swept away by someone who ...

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Fundamentalism by Naomi Shihab Nye

Fundamentalism by Naomi Shihab Nye

Because the eye has a short shadow orit is hard to see over heads in the crowd?If everyone else seems smarter but you need your own secret?If mystery was never your friend?If ...

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So Much Happiness by Naomi Shihab Nye

So Much Happiness by Naomi Shihab Nye

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.With sadness there is something to rub against, a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.When the world falls in around you, ...

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Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye

Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.The loud voice is famous to silence, which knew it would inherit the earth before anybody said so. The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to ...

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The Art Of Disappearing by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Art Of Disappearing by Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don't I know you?say no.When they invite you to the partyremember what parties are like before answering.Someone telling you in a loud voicethey once wrote a ...

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Burning The Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye

Burning The Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds. Notes friends tied to the doorknob, transparent scarlet paper,sizzle like moth wings,marry the air.So much of any year is flammable, ...

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Making A Fist by Naomi Shihab Nye

Making A Fist by Naomi Shihab Nye

We forget that we are all dead men conversing wtih dead men. —Jorge Luis BorgesFor the first time, on the road ...

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Streets by Naomi Shihab Nye

Streets by Naomi Shihab Nye

A man leaves the worldand the streets he lived ongrow a little shorter.One more window darkin this city, the figs on his brancheswill soften for birds.If we stand quietly enough ...

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Half-And-Half by Naomi Shihab Nye

Half-And-Half by Naomi Shihab Nye

You can't be, says a Palestinian Christianon the first feast day after Ramadan.So, half-and-half and half-and-half.He sells glass. He knows about broken bits,chips. If you love ...

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Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting… by Naomi Shihab Nye

Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting… by Naomi Shihab Nye

A small striped sleeve in her lap,navy and white,needles carefully whipping in yarn from two sides.She reminds me of the wide-angled womenfilled with calmI pretended I was related ...

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Last August Hours Before The Year 2000 by Naomi Shihab Nye

Last August Hours Before The Year 2000 by Naomi Shihab Nye

Spun silk of mercy,long-limbed afternoon,sun urging purple blossoms from baked stems. What better blessing than to move without hurry under trees?Lugging a bucket to the rose ...

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Truth Serum by Naomi Shihab Nye

Truth Serum by Naomi Shihab Nye

We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence, popped it right in.That frog song wanting nothing but echo? ...

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Hugging The Jukebox by Naomi Shihab Nye

Hugging The Jukebox by Naomi Shihab Nye

On an island the soft hue of memory,moss green, kerosene yellow, drifting, minglingin the Caribbean Sea,a six-year-old named Alfredlearns all the words to all the songson his ...

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Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye

Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye

A man crosses the street in rain,stepping gently, looking two times north and south,because his son is asleep on his shoulder.No car must splash him.No car drive too near to his ...

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Yellow Glove by Naomi Shihab Nye

Yellow Glove by Naomi Shihab Nye

What can a yellow glove mean in a world of motorcars and governments? I was small, like everyone. Life was a string of precautions: Don’t kiss the squirrel before you bury him, ...

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Boy And Egg by Naomi Shihab Nye

Boy And Egg by Naomi Shihab Nye

Every few minutes, he wantsto march the trail of flattened rye grassback to the house of mutteringhens. He too could makea bed in hay. Yesterday the egg so freshit felt hot in his ...

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Hello by Naomi Shihab Nye

Hello by Naomi Shihab Nye

Some nightsthe rat with pointed teeth makes his long way back to the bowl of peaches.He stands on the dining room table sinking his toothdrinking the pulpof each fruity ...

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Wedding Cake by Naomi Shihab Nye

Wedding Cake by Naomi Shihab Nye

Once on a planea woman asked me to hold her babyand disappeared.I figured it was safe,our being on a plane and all.How far could she go?She returned one hour later,having changed ...

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Jerusalem by Naomi Shihab Nye

Jerusalem by Naomi Shihab Nye

“Let’s be the same wound if we must bleed. Let’s fight side by side, even if the enemy is ourselves: I am yours, you are mine.” —Tommy ...

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The Small Vases From Hebron by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Small Vases From Hebron by Naomi Shihab Nye

Tip their mouths open to the sky. Turquoise, amber,the deep green with fluted handle, pitcher the size of two thumbs, tiny lip and graceful waist.Here we place the smallest ...

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San Antonio by Naomi Shihab Nye

San Antonio by Naomi Shihab Nye

Tonight I lingered over your name,the delicate assembly of vowelsa voice inside my head.You were sleeping when I arrived. I stood by your bedand watched the sheets rise gently.I ...

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The Rider by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Rider by Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told meif he roller-skated fast enoughhis loneliness couldn't catch up to him,the best reason I ever heardfor trying to be a champion.What I wonder tonightpedaling hard down ...

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My Uncle’s Favorite Coffee Shop by Naomi Shihab Nye

My Uncle’s Favorite Coffee Shop by Naomi Shihab Nye

Serum of steam rising from the cup,what comfort to be known personally by Barbara, her perfect pouring hand and starched ascot, known as the two easy eggs and the single ...

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The Words Under The Words by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Words Under The Words by Naomi Shihab Nye

for Sitti Khadra, north of JerusalemMy grandmother’s hands recognize grapes, the damp shine of a goat’s new skin. When I was sick they followed me,I woke from the long fever ...

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One Way or Another by Naomi Shihab Nye

One Way or Another by Naomi Shihab Nye

She is gone, where did she go?He can't imagine how the house will feelwhen he enters it, moving room to room.Now that the wait is over, a larger pausewill blanket the roof, ...

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Arabs in Finland by Naomi Shihab Nye

Arabs in Finland by Naomi Shihab Nye

Their language rolls out,soft carpet in front of them.Strolling slowly beneath trees,men in white shirts,belts, baggy trousers,women in scarves,glinting cigarettes in the ...

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Supple Cord by Naomi Shihab Nye

Supple Cord by Naomi Shihab Nye

My brother, in his small white bed,held one end.I tugged the otherto signal I was still awake.We could have spoken,could have sungto one another,we were in the same roomfor five ...

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Song Book by Naomi Shihab Nye

Song Book by Naomi Shihab Nye

Tiny keyboard bearing the massive reverie of the past—press one button, we're carried away on a country road,marching with saints, leaving the Red River Valley...here is every ...

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The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye

"It is believed that the onion originally came from India. In Egypt it was an object of worship —why I haven't been able to find out. From Egypt the onion entered Greece and on to ...

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The Turtle Shrine Near Chittagong by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Turtle Shrine Near Chittagong by Naomi Shihab Nye

Humps of shell emerge from dark water.Believers toss hunks of bread, hoping the fat reptilian heads will loom forth from the murk and eat. Meaning: you have been heard.I ...

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The Story, Around The Corner by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Story, Around The Corner by Naomi Shihab Nye

is not turning the way you thoughtit would turn, gently, in a little spiral loop, the way a child draws the tail of a pig.What came out of your mouth,a riff of common talk.As a ...

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Trying To Name What Doesn’t Change by Naomi Shihab Nye

Trying To Name What Doesn’t Change by Naomi Shihab Nye

Roselva says the only thing that doesn’t change is train tracks. She’s sure of it.The train changes, or the weeds that grow up spidery by the side, but not the tracks.I’ve ...

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Spruce Street, Berkeley by Naomi Shihab Nye

Spruce Street, Berkeley by Naomi Shihab Nye

If a street is named for a tree, it is right that flowersbloom purple and feel like cats,that people are leaves driftingdownhill in morning fog.Everyone came outside to seethe ...

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How Palestinians Keep Warm by Naomi Shihab Nye

How Palestinians Keep Warm by Naomi Shihab Nye

Choose one word and say it overand over, till it builds a fire inside your mouth.Adhafera, the one who holds out, Alphard, solitary one,the stars were named by people like us.Each ...

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Snow by Naomi Shihab Nye

Snow by Naomi Shihab Nye

Once with my scarf knotted over my mouthI lumbered into a storm of snow up the long hilland did not know where I was going except to the top of it.In those days we went out like ...

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Arabic by Naomi Shihab Nye

Arabic by Naomi Shihab Nye

The man with laughing eyes stopped smilingto say, "Until you speak Arabic,you will not understand pain."Something to do with the back of the head, an Arab carries sorrow in the ...

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Business by Naomi Shihab Nye

Business by Naomi Shihab Nye

"Syrian refugees go about their business in a refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan…"Ropes on poles, jeans & shirts flapping in wind.He sits on a giant bag of rice, head in hands.Too ...

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Lying While Birding by Naomi Shihab Nye

Lying While Birding by Naomi Shihab Nye

Yes Yes I see itso they won't keep telling you where it is

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Many Asked Me Not to Forget Them by Naomi Shihab Nye

Many Asked Me Not to Forget Them by Naomi Shihab Nye

Where do you keep all these people?The shoemaker with his rumpled cough.The man who twisted straws into brooms.My teacher, oh my teacher. I will always crywhen I think of my ...

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Negotiations with a Volcano by Naomi Shihab Nye

Negotiations with a Volcano by Naomi Shihab Nye

We will call you "Agua" like the rivers and cool jugs.We will persuade the clouds to nestle around your neckso you may sleep late.We would be happy if you slept forever.We will ...

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Loving Working by Naomi Shihab Nye

Loving Working by Naomi Shihab Nye

"We clean to give space for Art." Micaela Miranda, Freedom Theatre, PalestineWork was a shining refuge when wind sank its toothinto my mind. Everything we love is going ...

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Valentine for Ernest Mann by Naomi Shihab Nye

Valentine for Ernest Mann by Naomi Shihab Nye

You can't order a poem like you order a taco.Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"and expect it to be handed back to youon a shiny plate. Still, I like your spirit.Anyone ...

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