Happiness, redefined carelessly

Appeared first in Solstice Literary Magazine on 18 April 2024

Happiness, redefined carelessly

Like waves on the mediterranean
your little shrieks roll ahead of your feet,
watched over by foreign pine trees,
and when you chase them, like doves they take off
to the blue skies of my father’s youth.

Your little eyes and ears clamber up
my story line; fascination sits
on your eyebrows like a wild sparrow
on an almond tree; my story makes you
laugh: ‘grandpa played between these ruins,’
between native trees shedding figs, almonds
and olives like displaced autumn leaves
‘Like you, grandpa was once a child!’

And when I hoist you on my shoulders,
your little arms squeeze me into surrender,
happiness is redefined when you tell
me, childishly, ‘love you,’ shed these words
carelessly like autumn leaves, between
the remnants of a church and a school.

Your little shrieks and laughter bounce
on untamed bushes of zaatar and thyme;
Native life rejuvenating, happiness
is always redefined carelessly.