Dear Sparrow, Take Me Home! and Not Yet Spring


Haya Abu Nasser

Art by Mary Temple


Dear Sparrow, Take Me Home!

Oh, Sparrow go to my home,
perch on my windowsill,
to behold the moon.
My shadow lingers on the mirror,
childhood diaries are under the wardrobe,
my painting hangs on the wall,
Bedtime tales are on my pillow.
In our garden: the purple lilac,
azure fountain, rose blossoms,
shining oranges in trees
where birds once sang.
Salute them on my behalf.

With the military evacuation threat,
Chaos reigned.
We had five minutes remaining.
My gaze flitted, what shall I take,
the gifts, the books,
or the love letters?

Few minutes left,
Then neighbor’s house was bombed,
The glass scattered.
We lay down on the ground,
shielded our heads,
stunned into silence.
In hand, phone, passport, and ID,
And with a gray heart, I had to flee.

Gray is gray!
Missiles stole the colors.
The grass turned gray.
The lilac lost its purple hue.
Birds are silent on broken branches.

From our southern refuge,
sighs ascend to the sky.
War’s fog veils the north,
where the lilac waits by our door.
So, dear Sparrow, guide me home
To sweep up the dust,
and find the colors again!


Not Yet Spring

It is not yet Spring,
and frost is crawling
over the wounded earth,
whispering tales of war.
The rain is mixed with tears.
The soft sunlight caresses
my hands which are tinged blue
and tremble with fear and cold.

It is not yet Spring,
and winter is cruel.
But hyacinth tendrils unfurl
between cracked walls and
out from under graves,
guiding weary feet towards home.

It is not spring,
and the war is not yet over
I yearn to write verses of love,
of warm hands’ tender touch,
the girls’ shyly smiling lips,
and the canary’s cheerful trilling,
where the breeze eddies
with lovers’ secrets,
and orchid-scented letters
for the departed.

We used to chase
our reflections on the crystal sea
while the fishermen netted fish
and children laughed on the shore.
My city is like a sailor,
seeking for a harbor to anchor.
With a broken spar,
he is waiting for Spring’s arrival.


Spring / Summer 2024

Haya Abu Nasser

Haya Abu Nasser is a human rights activist and writer whose family is originally from Deir-Sneid. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and humanitarian sciences, and she worked for several nongovernmental organizations in Palestine. After being internally displaced in Gaza for five months, she managed to cross the Rafah border to go to Malaysia, where she is enrolled in a master's degree program in international relations. Her work has been published in AGNI and Scoundrel Time.

Mary Temple

Mary Temple is a visual artist who has exhibited throughout the US and internationally. Her projects have been commissioned by SFMOMA; SculptureCenter, LIC; MASS MoCA; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum; Rice Gallery, Houston; the Drawing Center, NY; Bunkamura Museum, Tokyo; and the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. Her work has been covered in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, ARTNews, the New Yorker, and the Washington Post.

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