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Hala Alyan

It’s beautiful to speak for her; she’s dead.I sit in the scalding bath. I like to change my skin.This is my sanity: salt and bubbles. To outliveis to become mockingbird: She was, she was.I echo her in the water, and in this way I live too,walking at 2 A.M. in a village in Lebanon,jackals waiting in the blank land. It is 1959.Jiddo has a revolver in his pocket, to shootwhatever might slink from the dark, but nothing does.Only howls. They sing to keep the animals away.I like to think she wore her hair in a knot,high as a planet, that she only loosened it inside,back in the new house. They barely knew the country.The walk was over. The walk was forgotten about.Only I am obsessed with it, stage-directing their liveslike the stranger that I am. It’s all gone now: house, body.What remains is no better than gossip:animals, a fog that took days to leave her hair.
from the journal SOUTHERN HUMANITIES REVIEW
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