Insha’Allah by Danusha Laméris
I don’t know when it slipped into my speech
that soft word meaning, “if God wills it.”
Insha’Allah I will see you next summer.
The baby will come in spring, insha’Allah.
Insha’Allah this year we will have enough rain.
So many plans I’ve laid have unraveled
easily as braids beneath my mother’s quick fingers.
Every language must have a word for this. A word
our grandmothers uttered under their breath
as they pinned the whites, soaked in lemon,
hung them to dry in the sun, or peeled potatoes,
dropping the discarded skins into a bowl.
Our sons will return next month, insha’Allah.
Insha’Allah this war will end, soon. Insha’Allah
the rice will be enough to last through winter.
How lightly we learn to hold hope,
as if it were an animal that could turn around
and bite your hand. And still we carry it
the way a mother would, carefully,
from one day to the next.
See more excellent poems in Sabio’s Poetry Anthology
About Danusha Laméris
Danusha Laméris was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a Dutch father and a mother from the island of Barbados. Her family lived, briefly, in Beirut, Lebanon during the outbreak of the 1975 Civil War. Otherwise, she was raised in Mill Valley and Berkeley, California. After studying painting and graduating from U.C.S.C. with a B.A. in Fine Arts, she began to dedicate herself to writing poems. She now lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband, Armando and teaches ongoing, private poetry workshops. (source Amazon)
“Hope” as an animal that may bite was a fantastic metaphor. I wrote about my affinity for the expression insh’Allah here.