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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. 

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