They were not large, but thick
fleshy workers in the garden
nursing eggplants and fennel,
okra and chard,
digging and tilling and weeding,
making the soil an obliging host.

Maybe that’s what made
his fingers rough in spots,
or maybe it was the constant leafing
through books: a loving lick
and a flip-flap of the page
in search of nuggets
that would be turned over and over
in his mind.

After he died
I found bookmarks between pages
carefully pointing
like tags next to seedlings in the earth:
These are the plants I hoped for.
These are the ideas that made me grow.






Zeina Azzam is a writer, editor, and educator. Her poems have appeared in MiznaSukoon Magazine, Split This Rock, the anthologies Gaza Unsilenced (Alareer and El-Haddad, eds.) and Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves (Fowler, ed.), and the forthcoming anthologies The Poeming Pigeon: Love Poems (The Poetry Box) and Write Like You're Alive (Zoetic Press). She holds an M.A. in Arabic literature from Georgetown University.