poetry// the day after my great grandmother’s funeral

the people i come from do not linger in the sky. after all, where would they go as the rain comes down, leaving everything hollowed and open? all at once, i have the desire to begin making wekka in my american grandmother’s gas oven, granulize the dried okra in my grandfather’s american coffee grinder.
there is no occasion, just stagnant grief.

my father bemoans the loss of daylight; we are late to magrib, late to everything. can’t race it fast enough: the impulse to love, to say goodbye, to know who you are. you never make it in time, the holes in the story leave marks so american, like the way we do not know how to say “i miss you” in arabic, how to say “i am so sorry for your loss”, how to say “i cannot believe how much you are hurting and i want you to know that an ocean away we love you very, very, very, much”.

i still lift my chin up to the sky when i pray. not to the ancestors but still, i know God does not linger in the air, or up above. after-all, how could His home have american-made tears in it? the world is tender, buzzing — electric currents of mortality touch everything. each molecule holds its breath the way i do. inhale. nothing changes. exhale.
someone, somewhere, has died.

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