Saturday 3 June 2023

Two Poems by Dr. Anissa Sboui


Her Own Portrait Is Painted

Her own portrait is painted,

Painted like a turning profile

Of a deflated pigeon

Caught last day by a tipsy hunting man

She has her own portrait painted,

Seizing an ink-free pen

In the middle of the night

A smile held in place

Reflected in a broken mirror

By the bedside

And a departed tear,

They told her she'll never mewl

Laugh like the Jeconde

As the avid reader is sure to get her words back

She'll get words back

Catch some of them from that aching head,

Reshuffle them like a mason

Laying stones, above, so below

Or a hairdresser adjusting messy bun style

Or a partially sighted strolling the streets of Budapest with a flashlight




the pigeon is released

The wings read lines of wisdom

And that frustrated lady never fails

To have her portrait done

To be merry the way a toddler is

You have to have a crush on

A man who is in sincere love

With words and tears

Never be infatuated with someone

Who is taken with swords and spears.

This is how her portrait will be well painted...

I was safer

I was safer in my mom’s womb

Like the roundness of the crazy world

I was turning in circles in her womb

the umbilical cord gave meaning to my tie

I couldn’t flee that sane world

and now I’m thrown in this insane zone

knowing not how to manage it all

as I’m without the cord, I realize not

the direction of my indefatigable mind,

I left it with arid bones,

cobwebs of spider caves,

Without maternal cord,

I figured out how exhausted my body has been

frustration mumbles higher than the whispers of fury

I was safer in that balloon-like creation

My dad’s fault or bliss

to turn that little frail girl into a woman

with great expectation of a nine-month paradise

of bearing a doomed boy,

swinging right and left, up and down

with huge imagination

of stepping down into the New Haven

ignorance feeds me like a carrot fuels a rabbit,

A dovish gazelle, an ecstatic plate for a famished tiger,

in the heart of Johannesburg,

A big-headed dictator with rocky palms,

A stone-like heart sipping beer to vomit poison

watch Bentham’s panopticon

I was safer for there was no fear of people

no race for promotion

no ascendency to chaos

no descent towards an abyss, full of worms

I was contained in mom’s womb

no room for enemies


bribes or evil,

in a nine inch placenta, I was a prince,

food, reaching me from the endometrium

I grew with no cries,

no shootings or hit

I grew in dreamy silence,

nine months on cloud nine I was,

worrying less about the crazy world

holding an umbilical sword

to conquer my secure stay at mom’s motel

before the windows of waste stretch its elbows and before

my Queen releases me to Terra

I was almost safer there, though

I’d be safer in my plush tomb

Dr. Anissa Sboui
 -A University teacher and poet from Sousse, Tunisia. The writer of 6 volumes: Transcend (2018), Rebirth (2019), Number One (2020), The Co-Avid Breath (2021) Hurricane (2022) and Halcyon and Screaming Earth (2023) and 3 books of poetry in Arabic.

Her poems featured in Writing in a Woman’s Voice, The Writers’ Club, Galaxy: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, Dumpster Fire Press, Medusa’s Kitchen, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Annual by the Elizabeth River Writers, Valiant Scribe, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Heist, Four Feathers Press, Our Poetry Archive, The California Poppy Times News.


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