The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

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APRIL 2021 Issue
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what carries you:                                 a rush of teeth                         nested scorpions

  I am empty
this                  when I wake before down                              
this                  as the light pinches through the windows
hold your arms out & you can
cradle anything
I’m in the ring                                     I am telling him it won’t be February
if you’re not careful                            you’ll be comforting him             before you know it
googling photographs of Mexican desert
like this I cradle
like this I mother                                the unmothered                       a stopped clock
when I wake from the anesthesia I ask                                               good?
and mean
I need to brush her hair                     can I go now please                her hair
the highway back home is foggy and I mean
it is good to be empty                                a jug                                        a bowl
it is good to be a color in the morning
the jade plant turns violet
I turn away from the window
in my own hands I bloom and the blooming is empty:
a quarter moon past its prime             a wet I wipe from my jawline
this body
this address of muscles and palpitate

I’m a polite houseguest:
                                                                                     I rinse out my cup when I’m through with it


Hala Alyan

Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Guernica, and elsewhere. Her poetry collections have won the Arab American Book Award and the Crab Orchard Series. Her debut novel won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and her second novel, The Arsonist’s City, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

All Issues