by A.D. Lauren-Abunassar
Before the mudminnow came the crustacean;
before the first song came the last song
and my brother’s birth in a rainstorm. Before
the rainstorm came the drought of God in rooms
that spoke of him — anymore I am learning to doubt the body
for its ability to hold up sadness. Anymore I am thinking of the skin
of the minnow in the mouth of the ghost crab, the crab in the palm
of my brother — what this says about holding
like holding means held is a four letter prayer
to the giants in fables. Those who could stretch long-necked
into tomorrow before tomorrow was yesterday —
yesterday was for the minnows, my brother whispers now and then.
Rendered down anything can be
promise and anymore a promise feels
like the sad orange light shown through a pill bottle —
the sick bitter swallow before sallow keeps the body held there.
Anymore I am learning to speak in the language
of shadows cast on white plaster walls. A lesson in holding
before losing. Given knuckle I will guess an inchworm.
Given brother I will guess umwelt. Given darkness I will guess a crane.
About the Author
A.D. Lauren-Abunassar is an Arab-American writer who resides in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Moth, Zone 3, Cincinnati Review, Diode, Comstock Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2017 Zone 3 Annual Poetry award, a 2019 Frost Chapbook Prize semi-finalist, and was a 2017 fellow at the Bucknell Seminar for Young Poets. She was a finalist for a 2019 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize and was a nominee for the 2018 Best New Poets Anthology. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.