Gordon Smedt © 2019

Gordon Smedt © 2019


by Babo Kamel

It’s an ambush

of fireburst, breeze-buzzed
and ravenous for something nameless.

You can smell it on the skin. A residue of ash and marl.
The umber rises from within, forms a permanent dusting.

The birds try to teach us each morning
but all we do is thrash the air with our  fire-

damaged wings. Oh we could fly once, skirt
the lies camouflaged as prayer. But we’ve grown

ground-tied and tired. Listen, we cannot surrender.
Everyone looks the same under the red sea.

Even the little ones, branded before they can walk.
Their small fists rise on the shoulders of their fathers.

Something must change. Our beaches
are littered with the moonless gasp of fish.



Babo Kamel’s  work is published in literary reviews in the US, Australia, and Canada. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson’s Program for Writers, is a Best of Net nominee, and a  five-time Pushcart nominee. Her chapbook, After, is published with Finishing Line Press.