The Soap of Aleppo

Image by JuJuly 25


Circling the soap over my head and against my skin,
the foam roams around my face.
With my eyes closed, I can see the ancient market in Aleppo;
I can take a walk there,
smell the spices
like comets ripping the stillness of the night.

A rectangular shape slopes down the middle,
the maker’s seal printed at the centre.

The human touch still present in the finished and uneven cut.
It is much more than a soap.
It is a history of Aleppo in three volumes,
from the seventh millennia to the last drop of blood on the ancient city.
Centuries of spices and trades,
Generations that lived, worked, and died there.
A voyage of aroma sends me back in time
to my youth walking around the old market.

Travellers / Visionaries / Crusaders / Barbarians.

A Bedouin mother with a face tattoo,
the pudding seller.

Fierce sunlight shines through a square in the ceiling,
tilting as the sun makes its way to the west.

The lazy butcher sits by the ancient cobble stones
on a warm reclined leather chair.

In the high arched market
dust fills the empty spaces.
A mirage of spices drifts in the air,
a stream of people search for the perfect fabric or fruit.
There is the occasional flirt by a shop keeper.

From the highest tip of the Rocky Mountains,
I smell Syrian blood.
I smell oil.


Born and raised in Aleppo, Mohamad Kebbewar, writes poetry as a way of finding peace after war. His poetry appears in Prism International, Iconoclast, and The Nashwaak Review.

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