FIRST WINTER by Hala Alyan

/ / Issue 6, Poetry

Our bodies are urns full of rain,
spilling during the harvest. The elders
speak of clemency. The army marches on.

We watch them across the ocean,
speak their undead name in our sleep.
Some of the sisters still make mosques

in abandoned lots. They auction their gold
for Allah’s ninety-nine names, while
the neighborhood boys hawk the spires

for cocaine. In the hour of the blizzard,
the devout speak of owls rising from
fossil. When they bathe, they hear

children’s voices in the pipes, open their
mouths wide to catch that scalding
song. Their wombs are empty now.

They name the trees in the projects for
Hagar. Snow fills the minaret and they wait
to arrive, finally, shaking, to god.



Issue 6 Contents                                       NEXT: Two Poems by Patrick Rosal