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  • Checkpoint, and: Isdoud (for Fady Joudah)
  • Philip Metres (bio)


each day I enter with open / papers & snake the coiledwires & barbed cattle chute / Qalandia / & bunker sand

-bagged heads / to study the very ground / & watch oneselfbeing watched / a ticking watch / other’s hands handing over

to red-haired & fretting / Uzi itchy with questions& half a world / from his birth / a passportless plastic bag

scuds & tumbles past border / its blue flag blessed by wind /O to be winged / & not locked in the fate of checkpoints

outside the milk of oxygen / held up / outside the /in /no man’s / land / to lift outside gravity’s root & float

in the matrix / the mind a stone / bones grinding themselveslike teeth / in this mouth / vacuum-locked / suspended

till he gloves back / the papers / aviators glinting backthis alien’s alien face [End Page 14]

Isdoud (for Fady Joudah)

dear descendantof the disappeared you ascend

the pillarof your own airspin & span

whole abysseswith linestranslating there

to here & hereto wherewind winds

in dry wadishoists seain handful

after invisiblehandfulisdoud now

your e-mail address& digital imageof branches

through windowswithin school ruinsa refugee points

with his caneto what heonly can see

you argue againstthe argumentagainst your [End Page 15]

self youyourself make& home in

kiss my blindeyes clearclose keyholes

with openinghomeland youcradle in vowels

what was notnever yoursI’ll hold it here

till you return [End Page 16]

Philip Metres

Philip Metres is the author of Sand Opera and other books. A two-time recipient of the NEA and Arab American Book Award, he teaches at John Carroll University.



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