Fatima :: Solstice

Hala Alyan

It's beautiful to speak for her; she's dead.I sit in the scalding bath. I like to change my skin.This is my sanity: salt and bubbles. To outliveis to become mockingbird: She was, she was.I echo her in the water, and in this way I live too,walking at 2 A.M. in a village in Lebanon,jackals waiting in the blank land. It is 1959.Jiddo has a revolver in his pocket, to shootwhatever might slink from the dark, but nothing does.Only howls. They sing to keep the animals away.I like to think she wore her hair in a knot,high as a planet, that she only loosened it inside,back in the new house. They barely knew the country.The walk was over. The walk was forgotten about.Only I am obsessed with it, stage-directing their liveslike the stranger that I am. It's all gone now: house, body.What remains is no better than gossip:animals, a fog that took days to leave her hair.

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Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Poetry, Guernica and elsewhere. Her poetry collections have won the Arab American Book Award and the Crab Orchard Series. Her debut novel, SALT HOUSES, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017, and was the winner of the Arab American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her second novel, THE ARSONISTS’ CITY, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hala lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dog.

Cover of the Southern Humanities Review Issue 54.2


Auburn, Alabama

Auburn University

Anton DiSclafani, Rose McLarney

Managing Editor
Caitlin Rae Taylor

Poetry Editor
Rose McLarney

Southern Humanities Review is the literary quarterly published from the Department of English at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Founded in 1967, SHR publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Work published in Southern Humanities Review is considered for Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Best American Short Stories, New Stories from the South, Prize Stories: O. Henry Awards, and the Pushcart Prize.

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