Just Like That

When our neighbor’s son was gunned down
in Beirut
when streets flooded after monsoon-like rains
my parents would only say, inshallah things 
will get better

At the beach when I was eight
a flurry of people rushed into the water
then returned, somber,
carrying a young man’s limp body on a raft

Once as my mother’s nimble fingers
braided my long black locks
I watched a war unfold on TV

Some nights I fell asleep reciting my parents’ 
inshallah things will get better
often thinking that maybe I, too,
could come face to face with a gun or a bomb 
from the sky

storms that could sweep away my home
or whirlpools as I swam in the sea

and just like that
my life would end
a    little      brown        body          washed            ashore

Rules of Radiance
Portrait of a Woman in 1969