The HyperTexts

Siham Karami

Siham Karami's poetry has been or will be published in The Comstock Review, Measure, Right Hand Pointing, The Rotary Dial, The Ghazal Page, Unsplendid, Möbius, Mezzo Cammin,  Raintown Review, Amsterdam Quarterly, Innisfree Journal, The Lavender Review, The Centrifugal Eye, and other venues and anthologies. A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Laureates' Prize in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Competition, she blogs and posts occasional book reviews at

The Departure

The railway station's towering old walls
where broken skylights shed half-hearted rays;
a few lone passengers, meandering souls,
discarded photographs a random wind conveys;
here a machine drops one dim-reddish apple
while my friend's father gives her meals he brought.
Their laughter echoes off the iron and marble;
I board behind, almost an afterthought.
Her father waves from the fast-shrinking platform,
my father's absence like a missing hand.
Through houses speeding past, I feel its phantom —
its amputated touch trails close behind
and haunts between the eyes, all down the track
as if he knows I'm never coming back.

First published in 14 by 14


The last time you were here you mowed the lawn.
All winter, it stayed pretty much the same:
dormant, hardly ever stepped upon.
You know your father never speaks your name.

Unasked, you built a picket fence from scratch
out front, the only civilizing thing.
Now it guards the palace-mounds of ants.
Inside, we bad-mouth freedom, curse the spring,

our days a time-lapse sunscape dimming down
to night, where gardens are irrelevant.
You bought a car, sent pictures of your own
apartment bathed in light, a world we can’t

begin to comprehend or share. I send
my love and kisses as a repetend.

First published in String Poet

Gently Still Finding You Between

spirals in the shell you left behind,
on staircases, in tiny unseen rooms,
interstices, hidden ventricles,
auricles collapsed and yet alive,

imaginary origami hearts,
a nautilus still pumping through the days
that lost you in their downy underside
like sepals undernoticed, or a potted
cactus near the window no one looks through.

What liquids had been stored in you for years?
Love or some restrained guffaw or blooming
should have burst through sediment and rock.
So much to say, we found no way to talk.

The droplets never touched the cavern floor―
bonded to the minerals that melt
in geologic time, you are no more,
although your shape still shadows my old thoughts:
a gentle tapping on the window's cold.
A film of rain coats footprints on the stairs.

First published in Kin Poetry Journal

Labor Day

A foghorn sobs its ghostly passing through
The sun's descending carnival of skies,
While mountains float, untouchable, in blue.

Our yard dips steeply to the street below
Where playing children's distant squealings rise.
A foghorn sobs its ghostly passing-through.

Smoking coals char slabs of barbecue:
The year's last pungent cloud, last crazy flies—
While mountains float, untouchable, in blue.

My stomach clenches for the touch of you
that's almost here. If I could exorcise
The foghorn-sobs, their ghostly passing-through,

Mocking every heartbeat. Is it true
The presence lingers though the bond unties?
Do mountains float, untouchable, in blue?

And what good will it do me if they do?
Inscrutable, insatiable goodbyes
Whose foghorn sobs their ghostly passing-through,
Whose mountains float, untouchable, in blue.

First published in Innisfree Journal

My Heart Is an Extremity

Who crowned the heads of conquerors with leaves?
You slam the door. I'm rolling up my sleeves.

We read each other's eyes and almost drown
like gypsies rendered speechless by the leaves.

Then winter strips us down to skeletons:
static, silence, sparks are all it leaves.

What is this archaeology of love,
brushing fragile shards, preserving leaves?

Waking to a gentle blush, we whisper
truth in half-words, all the heart believes.

We slowly die, let loose from the tree,
then whirl in restless, weightless crowds of leaves.

Your hands dry out like parchment on their bones,
but longing for their firm grip never leaves.

The spine holds words together, names the whole
but we extract their meaning from the leaves.

Don't measure time, Siham, by things that fall,
but by the upward thrust of newborn leaves.

First published in Angle Poetry

Rain Trance

I love this constant thrumming on the roof,
wrapping me inside its thick cocoon
of sound, a monastery in the rough.
Percussive chants, these waves refresh the bone,
carry in their very pulse a silence—
not an eye, but a collective calm
whose soft crescendo beckons with its cadence.
Through swells of chattering I hear a psalm.
My sense of place dissolves, the clouding hours
disintegrate, my thoughts—mere whisper-heft—
form solo islands in a sea of choirs.
And who or what am I? And what is left
of this world as I drift away, aloof?
Just a constant thrumming on the roof.

First published in String Poet

Going to Work with a Black Eye

Don’t ask me how I got it. Let’s just say
a human storm made landfall, did some damage:
last night’s souvenir now on display.
Through makeup, morning blur, its sordid image
blares. I down my coffee, catch the bus
and squeeze myself between the silent crowd,
their eyes in screen-save mode, oblivious.
I know this trance, a temporary shroud
which at the stroke of eight just disappears,
my eye’s dark tell-tale tatters thus exposed
to snag right on our humming office gears.
But no! Sweet nothing, normalcy-imposed.
Give me your files, your make-work, your routine.
Anesthetize me, daily grind machine.

First published in The Raintown Review

The HyperTexts