Absorbing Pool

The names are L, I, K, then S — i do not know what they mean, all i know every corner of those streets turns into my mother’s praying beads that take me to her garden,

of orchids,

of roses,

a fight that turned into a rupture,

my grandmother’s hands protecting me from

a falling tree,

wiping my tears over the felling;

street lights enshrine my grief under the shadow of empire that solidifies into my accent, my grammar, my fatigue, my bed, my cruel dating apps, and my grant proposals,

“I’m looking for the illuminati signs at the National Mall,” I told you — your laughter always feels like an early autumn,

why do i always have more to say at the end of everything like,

long conversation about how to not touch my head,

indigenous words from my mother’s tribe across my colonizers’ dictionaries,

kaleidoscopic praying matt that my father gently folds for me,

and the soothing voice of my grandfather — signaling the absence of patriarchy,

but they always end up in endless dzikir before i turn my body to the right of my bed,

to whisper,

“Allah will never leave me, and neither will i.”

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