PART OF THE Shelter ISSUE
‘Hawwa loves many things, and what she loves she gives a name’
Poems taken from Faces That Fled the Wind
By Alycia Pirmohamed
Published by BOAAT Press
Ways of Looking
Every prayer is a heron at first glance,
the marbled neck of someone
indistinguishable from this house.
Every figure wildreed unbelonged cursive
is a morning’s mound of sugar.
This mosque is a wood
where I sit cross-legged,
Where I mirror my mother’s
This mosque is a cut of apple—
I mistake each slice for a mouth
—I mistake the back of every head
for my father;
red gala, ambrosia, faces arranged into
He is here with cloves packed
into his wounds.
I am here because there are wounds
packed into my wounds.
In my language, every line is a fallen thing.
In my other language,
I am imagining again,
of resin and cassava,
It is mine, too,
from mother, to mother,
in every cell,
a helix of hushes,
grapes on the vine.
All of the firsts
accruing in a body,
splitting into its Februarys
and its silences—
first dab of oil,
first whole nutmeg,
of adolescent hair—
its spectrogram passed
from chest to chest,
an echo slickened
with rain and salt
Hawwa is Creating Her Garden
Before her, the clay
of evergreen and juniper and oak.
Hawwa drinks sweet water from the well
studies the spine of each tree,
kisses each face
she finds in the river.
Hawwa is this garden. Look closely
at the rosary beads that glisten
on the bough.
Hawwa is olivine
she has planted seeds beneath the highest point
of the sun
and unfolded her body
onto the earth. She rises
like an eagle,
and laughs like a wasp.
Hawwa loves many things, and what she loves
she gives a name—the birds
that ki ki ki
are northern flickers. She cracks open a
and delights in its snap.
Hawwa is heart and animal and breast and god.
Faces That Fled the Wind by Alycia Pirmohamed is published by BOAAT Press.
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