Half a mile from the masjid, the wails of gunshot
filter through a fluttering wind. I am afraid
of the moist caves bullets carve on skin.
Walk inside a wound.
Slip your body inside that space, damp
and covered in blood—
pain’s rust, twirled like drape, a fistful
of metal delivered straight into my chest,
until what the heart conceals
pours out as salt and water, the deepening
stars in your face.
I went to the masjid,
found all those who have gone in to pray
under a tree turned into shoes,
heel worn, worked and covered with dust. The earth
is inheritable with the pain of seeing the dead
weave silence into a path
out of this world.
I manipulate memory so my daughter is in two places,
dead in the makabarta and alive
in my heart.
Observe my mouth. It stretches songs
that refuse to leave.
It girds my pain like a ship
in a snowstorm. No healing exists
beneath the ground. We suffer
only the weight of the living, and a sea of longings
below the darkness of deep water.
In six days the wound of loss will reopen and bleed
and clot and bleed and clot
until I can only pretend healing
or to smile in a way that it is not in my heart
the next time I walk into the masjid
knowing the bullet
drags me closer to God than to prayers.