FIRST WINTER by Hala Alyan
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.