Hafizah Geter




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

into resurrecting.

Family Portrait



Upstream, the salmon failed.

Winter caught them


one freezing current at a time.

We lost


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 YorkerTin HouseNarrative Magazine, Gulf CoastBoston 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