Pianissimo by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha


If you say it softly/if you linger in the vowels/there is precedent/in tajweed the tradition/is incantatory/even though you don’t/call it song/if you 
count/six beats for every long/alef/like lifting a prayer up to the sky/like hoisting
a body above the ruins/and the arms raised up in praise/in grieving/praise/if you 
choose/a softer word here/read a poem about/love instead/if you add the word/if
you loosen the grip/if you say it/ in Arabic/say it in Arabic/in Arabic whisper/choose
the one that rhymes/even if /it is reserved for the dead/if you sing/sing it a little/the
crowd begging/the sky/begging the collapsed/begging the earth to stop caving
in/blessing the baby delivered/again/from the rubble/beseeching the walls/the crowd

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