A Houston poet’s tool box doesn’t normally include fluency in Arabic and an internal medicine practice—indeed, Dr. Joudah’s scholastic accomplishments and life experience raise our expectations. And, in turn, we find his work on the page to be intensely observant, thoughtful, skilled, and outright enjoyable. In 2007, he won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, and later received the Griffin Poetry Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. This is his fourth published collection.
AN ALGEBRA COME HOME
Morning slept well. The fruit vendor—an immigrant in a Paris
street market whose name I can access but don’t recall—sliced
a peach and called out to passersby, city dwellers, tourists to
try this heart of his, not too sour, not too sweet, ripe, ready, his
bare hands looked as dry as can be expected, the pocket knife
blade clean as well. Many refused. A few reached out and let
his quartered peach fall unto their fingertips furled like flowers.
They ate his offering then walked off with or without shaking
their heads. No thank you or Yes but No. You waited as you
chewed then picked four fruits, one for each chamber. He said
“Gorgeous, you’re the one who’s mended my heart.”
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