Arabs in Finland

Hot tea
Photo by Kables/Flickr

Their language rolls out, 
soft carpet in front of them.
Strolling slowly beneath trees, 
men in white shirts, 
belts, baggy trousers,
women in scarves,
glinting cigarettes in the dusk.
What they left to be here, in the cold country,
where winter lasts forever,
haunts them in the dark –
golden hue of souk in sunlight,
gentle calling through streets that said, Brother,
Sister, sit with me a minute, on the small stool
with the steaming glass of tea. Sit with me.
We belong together.

Naomi Shihab Nye was the laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature (see WLT, Jan. 2014) as well as the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2019 to 2022. Her most recent book is The Turtle of Michigan (Greenwillow, 2022).