She is determined to follow the smoke—a hymn / for what’s gone missing.
for me again; paler, long fingers
digging through roots of salt. She hums,
the story arriving from hidden pockets of tissue.
Her eyes are dark & quieted down by now.
She waits for the deeper sounds: a hoof
emerging from the soil, the buried coming up for a few hours
of familiar air, patched skin tinted by the evening’s aged glow.
She is determined to follow the smoke—a hymn
for what’s gone missing. The deer are fuller,
preparing to hide, white bellies swelling over
the parched grass, dragging ashes in their ruminants.
Her hair is longer than her spear.
She follows the path & changes tone, her breath
deepening according to the chord. The sky above
is a cruel crimson, dust rising to the air. My mother
knows the clouds & obeys, bides her time,
bites an apple. I rarely yearn to be found,
but we do this nearly every season & I know
where to stand still & hopeless between the trees,
wanting to touch her hair, the corners of her lips,
wanting to mimic her pace, her pact with the moon.
Nadra Mabrouk is the author of Measurement of Holy (Akashic Books, 2020), part of the New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set. The recipient of the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University and works in publishing in New York City.
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The water flows through hollow bones and returns / as a song. It sounds familiar in the beginning / Then always changes.
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