Blank Sky / Orange Thieves

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2013 Barrett Winner

3rd Place Ali Hammoud

Blank Sky

God has bright eyes
as wide and as focused as a kid’s.
Mom, who is wiser than me,
is kneeling in the other room, praying
while I watch TV like poison.
She gets up in her white robe
looks up to God, with her closed eyes
clean from her recent shower.
She whispers to him like a loony
whose sight comes from within.
It’s silent but calming.
It can never be proven
No, I’m not sure if he’s even up there.
He was when I was eight years old.
Now he is myth, vacuumed out of the air
like a squeezed sponge.
When I was nine I thought babies
were designed in heaven.
Now my couch is clean as a chimney
and on TV studio laughter repeats without emotion.
Mama, never change…
Oh Mom, Mama,
Pray to keep hope.

Orange Thieves

We were hungry
And the farms were bright and appealing.
We were afraid to steal the fruits from the tree,
but we had no choice
Back in Lebanon, it was anarchy
the farm owner could have shot us.
We hid behind bushes and trees,
eyeing down the orange tree near front
like soldiers on a platoon.
My oldest brother and I were the brave ones
who went for the oranges.
We dashed fast
fast as slim 12 year old kids could
but the owner saw us.
Like flies, we scattered in all directions
still continuing with our mission.
Later that night, we had oranges
they were delicious.