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Haidar, Charlotte, how to say grandfather


Charlotte Haidar
Age: 17, Grade: 11

School Name: Riverdale Country School, Bronx, NY
Educator: Kellen Blair

Category: Poetry

how to say grandfather

We wore Sunglasses and Sundresses
trying to be beautiful
because acceptance is the thing
which drives us all crazy
with longing.
The bazaar was jam packed
with delights of honey,
rose, lemon, and pistachio.
Lokum sits on the tongue like marshmallow.
And we bounced on the hotel bed
chewing and laughing at the sweetness
watching foreign soccer games
in our nicotine hotel room
where I lost my chapsticks.
Everyday people prayed
to the sound of the man
in the tower who made music
enchanting the sacred gardens
and the women in the mosques
tied hijabs around my mother and my sister.
The Dead are important still.
And the cielings are beautiful.
We eat hamburgers and shish kebabs
and are quiet.
I have told my brother 
the meaning of grandfather
and the reverence it carries
He gives us gifts
from Damascus,
the promised land where 
he promises
everything is safe and 
lovely because how could it not be.
And he gives us boxes
                    and boxes
                    and boxes
inlaid with mother of pearl
as he sits next to the mother of his children.
He gives me
a necklace
and tells me 
we are the creators 
of language.
And I believed him.