Beirut, 1983

by Jak Emerson Kurdi

My grandfather was killed young
by his ashtray lungs when my father
and his brothers were each somewhere
different on their trudge across the bridge

between boy and man. With their bodies
tethered to windsurfing sails, they yoked
the bucking Mediterranean and skipped
along the foam, chopping wildly
at the breeze to maneuver the waves
of grief, hoping the mast-made slices of air
would soothe the festering grief-sludge
in their throats. The winter exiled them

from their sea, so they left the boards
on the shore and filled their mouths
like cauldrons, muddling Marlboro Reds
with mint leaves, to try and conjure
his ghost out from under the smoke.

Jak Emerson Kurdi holds an MA in Creative Writing from Texas Tech University. Jak’s other work appears or is forthcoming in Radar Poetry, Inklette and Chautauqua. Connect with Jak at

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