Song of Belfair

I sing the song of Belfair

Of village-towns with foreign names.

Curve them on your tongue, hold them in your throat.

Kfarhata, Beirut, Seattle

 

Belfair with its salty channels

Crab pots, oyster shells that glisten

Yellow-twine rope swing dangles from the balcony

Grandaughter’s Christmas tree stands in the basement

Sturdy treehouse of round-branch walls

Gazes on the wildflower bed

You made them for me.

 

Kfarhata echoes in the memory halls.

Silver platters, ornate carpets, olive oil held in glass

Cheese, flatbread, cucumber, melon

Salt of the Mediterranean on sun-browned skin

Wind that smells of cedar dust

Tiled mosaics, inlaid cloisters, jeweled desert beauty

You shared it with me.

 

Beirut leads the way to seaside promenade.

Dive from the Crazy Place and pray for tall waves.

Up narrow stairs, peer into kitchens, lounges

Lines of laundry

Tabouli, lebneh, mannaeesh, kefta

Golden stone, ripped deep with shrapnel

This Paris of the Middle East is broken, shell-shocked, worn but proud

Like you.

 

Seattle, home once, and home again. Final home.

Brick-walled, humble garden Ballard house.

Basement filled with apples, ham, baguette

Card games with the teenaged grandkids

Laughter, Arabic cussing lessons

Affectionate hospitality

Your teaching voice is strong.

 

Home apartment, hospital bed

In your firstborn’s house, office converts to hospice

This shelter-land does not sing your blood’s song

Instead, it cradles legacy

Lives grow here that stemmed from you

Chicks have their own chicks now.

Dark-eyed grandchildren: Painter. Engineer. Writer.

Great grandchildren: Music-maker. Joy-dancer.

Your heart’s new orbit.

 

And then, your time comes in a sun-filled room.

Hymns, bright-colored marker-lines on cards,

Gentle hand upon your arm, a kiss on your wrinkled forehead.

I see my father in your face.

 

Goodbye, my Jiddo. My grandfather. My ancient legacy of gracious love.

Your home is no longer here with us. It lies in the light beyond.

In Memory of Hikmat George Saba

August 4, 1930 – November 3, 2018

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

Comments

Song of Belfair — 2 Comments

  1. Oh Elise. This is beautiful. I had tears running down as I read, remembered and celebrated him. I will miss him so much. I miss them both!! I live with the hope that our spirits will reunite once again in Eternity. The Lord’s deepest Peace over your family as you celebrate his life.
    With love and blessings, always
    Liliane (Australia) xxxxx

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