A Red Cherry On A White Tile Floor

for Maram Al-Massri

Dianalee Velie

Vibrant sexuality explodes
in your poems,
ripe and passionate
against your chaste
Syrian upbringing,
a stark dichotomy
like the title of your book,
the borrowed
title of this poem.

In a cult of veils you clung
to the idea of liberty, fleeing
eventually to Paris to bare
you arms, your thighs, and
your blood red heart
on the page.
Flirting with freedom
brought euphoria
mixed with sadness

as you unified
the sights and scents
of Arabic traditions,
dressed them in mini-
skirts and high heels
and strutted through
the literary world
a mix of racy rebellion
and subdued submission,

every woman relating:
Madonna and whore.

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