BintElNas: Web of Dreams

Zataar   diala

Listening to music
i am picking zaatar leaves.

zaatar smell fills my head

Velvety soft deep green leaves

i think about my mother; mama would come home with a bag of fresh zaatar

she would sit down put it in front of her, a bowl to fill with leaves and a bag to throw away the sticks.

She tells us that three picking zaatar leaves makes it fun work, for one it is only work.

we were watching TV.

Mama has a ring on her ring finger, an old one
gold holding a black square with a little diamond in the middle.

Beautiful serious fingers, long and brown, obvious knuckles and perfect shaped fingernails.

Beautiful serious hands.
Mama would pick leaves in rhythm, in music, patiently and carefully, the tip first - a bundle of flowers like leaves.

then she would hold the stick at its freshly cut tip and run her fingers along the its length letting the leaves free into the palm of her loving hand and then throws them gently in to the bowl.

mama picking zaatar leaves.

Later that day we drink zaatar tea, we eat zaatar salad and later that week we sprinkle our labaneh with dried zaatar.

Zaatar is home, mama and alma and i.

For half an hour one afternoon we would be chatting to zaatar sticks and a bowl of picked leaves about how school was or whom mama met and what alma thought of imperialism.

Mama tells us picking out zaatar leaves is good for her head, good for her soul, calming systematic movements, simple and cool.

I am sure we ate a lot of zaatar in '91 when iraq was being attacked,

or later maybe in '95 when peter was being treated for cancer.

Mama would be working on her zaatar for comfort, to relax.

They say zaatar is good for you to drink,
good for your throat and breathing for your lungs and stomach,
and zaatar to pick is good for your soul.

i wash my own which i had picked alone standing up in my small kitchen,

home now is funny, we do not live together and where mama lives now,

they sell you thyme dried and strange in small packs.

All illustrations and writing Copyright 1999 The Author except where otherwise noted.
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