Can You Describe Your Years in Prison?
Over Skype, I try to document my mother'sbald-shaved youth — she has a surplus in truths,and science has proven what it had to prove:every helicopter-screech I dreamed of was my mother's first.Rippling my dumb hand, I wake up in childhood's crypt,where prayer is keyless as a foreign laugh overheardand on the Masjid's cobalt globe a ghost...an angel?No, no...who am I kidding. When I say God,what I mean is: I can barely stand to lookat my mother's face. So, what if I've never seenwhat she's seen. I took the shape of her two hundredand six bones — I did not choose her eyes. Did notchoose to masticate the ash of witness,her crooked smile disclosing a swarm of flies,Yes, missiles hailed there, named after ancient gods.Hera — a word of disputed root — maybe from Erate,beloved. And because my beloved is not a personbut a place in a headline I point to and avert my gaze,I can now ask: would I have given up my mother for an alyssuminstead of asylum? Or one glass of water that did notcontain war? Her wound isn't mine, yet what I needed mostwas our roof to collapse on her like earth around stones.Rain, the hard absence of skin. The silence of it —no gust in my goddess. No artificial wind.
Copyright © 2019 by Aria Aber
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
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