Half-And-Half by Naomi Shihab Nye

Half-And-Half

You can’t be, says a Palestinian Christian
on 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 Jesus you can’t love
anyone else. Says he.

At his stall of blue pitchers on the Via Dolorosa,
he’s sweeping. The rubbed stones
feel holy. Dusting of powdered sugar
across faces of date-stuffed mamool.

This morning we lit the slim white candles
which bend over at the waist by noon.
For once the priests weren’t fighting
in the church for the best spots to stand.
As a boy, my father listened to them fight.
This is partly why he prays in no language
but his own. Why I press my lips
to every exception.

A woman opens a window—here and here and here—
placing a vase of blue flowers
on an orange cloth. I follow her.
She is making a soup from what she had left
in the bowl, the shriveled garlic and bent bean.
She is leaving nothing out

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye
Born: 12 March 1952, Missouri, United States
Nationality: American

Nye is a poet, editor, songwriter, and novelist. She began composing her first poetry at 6 years of age. Nye has published or contributed to more than 30 collections of poetry. The Poetry Foundation designated Nye the Young People’s Poet Laureate in 2019

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