Habituation

Hala Alyan
today a woman tucked me between her legs like an egg // of course I think egg // she tells me each chakra is blocked // it feels prickly, she says of the hand between // my hipbones // you can pray now, // she says of the hand // on my forehead // what I don’t ask is // when will this heart boat itself across the ocean // when will this heat break // I want a winter twice as long as summer and I applaud the flock // of geese pulling the night sky like a white thread // ask me about habituation // and I’ll show you Paris in July // how the days noosed me like a turtleneck // each dawn a misfiring of cortisol // listen / I threw a silk dress over the balcony // onto a street in Montmartre // isn’t that another way of saying I need this, too? // please don’t misunderstand me // my husband sings and I fall to my knees // I should know better at this point // than to believe my own body // but hasn’t the story already changed because I told it // don’t I circle my life like a vulture for sound bites // the hot black of a movie theater // panic-bent over the sink // the water glass in four pieces // the fist I recognized in the dream // what would you tell her, the woman asks // about my own shivering body on that bed // I’d say you wanted enlightenment // did you think you’d find it at the bodega // next to the sunflowers // I’d say pay attention // I’d say wipe your face // get some rest // you’re going to need it // I’d say you said you were ready // so show me

Feature Date

Series

Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print

Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in The New York TimesGuernica 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 newest poetry collection, THE TWENTY-NINTH YEAR, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

January 2020

Founding Editor
Helen Vitoria

Managing Editor
Nicole Rollender

Social Media Editor
Lance Carpenter

THRUSH Poetry Journal appears six times a year, in the months of January, March, May, July, September and November.

Why the name THRUSH?

Thrushes are a species of bird, the songs of some considered to be among the most beautiful in the world. We love that, and that is how we feel about poems. We hope to provide you with the best poetry available to us.

We believe our relationship with our contributors should not end at publication and feel strongly about promoting their work whenever possible. Therefore, we nominate for most major prizes, anthologies and awards, and poems from THRUSH appear and are forthcoming in Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.