Longing By Zahraa Farhat


Meet me at the top
of the mountain,
where we’ll gather
fallen pine cones
to break with rocks,
store the seeds in a jar,
and spot the shepherd
tending to his flock.

We’ll carve our initials on trees
and make up names
for each passing sheep—
sassy Habiba, little Joud, crazy Foola.

Our feet will cling to the slope
and our hearts will croon
the Fayrouz song
our grandparents sang:
“ehkeli ehkeli 3an baladi ehkeli,”
tell me, tell me about my country,
tell me.

The wind will then answer,
telling the stories
of a land that survived bombs,
and forgave its people
for disappearing too fast.

And, if it rains,
I promise we won’t leave;
we’ll pine with baladi
for its losses,
and for a distance
we did not intend.

By Zahraa Farhat


Zahraa Farhat is a Lebanese American writer and former journalist for The Arab American News. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn and master’s degree in creative writing from Wayne State University. As a daughter of immigrants and a Muslim in America, her writing is preoccupied with themes of family, war, country, and identity.

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