Hafizah Geter

family plot

 

 

my father says he’s sorry

carries a shovel

 

for a grave

he can’t help dig

 

we bury only women here

 

he points

counts bodies piling up

 

my father leaves me

leaves me

only hands—

 

gravel dry

 

callused heirlooms

 

two bruises that have begun

 

to take my mother up

She had no corners though the world was flat—

 

 

You don’t know what a suitcase is

until you understand your mother

 

115 pounds

hollowed out—so much room

to fold

 

your clothes

inside her

Who could survive

 

the tenderness

of a kitchen,

 

my sister

angry once

again

 

I’m still young enough to destroy

a marigold and be

 

forgiven, my father wakes

to take care

of me again

 

What would I do

to you

if my sister left,

 

took her son

and painted red

all over the garden

 

 

with-my-hands

biography

HAFIZAH GETER is a South Carolina native currently living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and a recipient of a 2012 Amy Award from Poets & Writers. Her poems have appeared in BOXCAR Poetry Review, RHINO, Drunken Boat, Columbia Poetry Review, New Delta ReviewMemoriousLinebreak, and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art.