Common Denominator




You write ghazals under shade of an acacia,

speak Farsi or Pashto,

eat qurmas, sabzi, lamb kebabs,

wear burqas and hijabs.


I write free verse under shade of a maple,

speak English,

eat pizza, cod, corn on the cob,

wear jeans and t-shirts.


Your men greet each other with kisses.

Our women do.


We both read Rumi,

eat yogurt and rice.


We both love our children.


Let us then


strap on our sandals

pick up our walking sticks

and journey together through

this terrible beautiful world

that we entered

and will leave

in the shared shade

of the great unknown.


Nancy Walker Greenaway is a poet living on a small island off the coast of New England.