Maybe, I love the pain in her best.
How long she can make one meal last.
Having over salted the cod,
our mother rinses
its mouth in the sink,
her fingers brushing from head to tail.
It’s her first time out of bed since Sunday.
Between her shoulders medicine accumulates—
the sun performs its evening
salat. Quietly, she washes away
each coarse grain until she is free
from the memory of the butcher.
Tonight, all the lights inside her
are flickering. All the horses are breaking
their chains and if the wind can split
a single seed, I tell myself
we can will the bees
Upstream, the salmon failed.
Winter caught them
one freezing current at a time.
the Oak first. The roots crowned,
tired with the earth as we were
with each other. Like fire,
winter had a blue
flame. A bowl
of milk we left out
for the starving
Born in Zaria, Nigeria, HAFIZAH GETER’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Tin House, Narrative Magazine, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Linebreak, among others. Hafizah also serves on the board of VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, co-curates the reading series EMPIRE with Ricardo Maldonado, and is currently an editor at Little A and Day One from Amazon Publishing. www.hafizahgeter.com