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Ariel Davis / BuzzFeed News

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First I said, yes, here

by the light. The dark

has its own blindfold,

the pearls of the eyes

of anyone who will leave

you—sprig of sage


for your hair, he said.

Rind of lemon for

your fingers, and la

ilaha illallah I whistled,

though the dawn eats

its own faith, rubs aromatics


into the question of what

comes after the next air raid

or bombing or shooting

and the morning is blank

and the sun shines down

on another blatant river


of limbs. First I said,

tomorrow, then, now,

I’ll leave now, while

it’s still safe. A few

more minutes, love,

he said, a few more


hours. Just trust,

he said. I said yes

to the sprig of sage

and the rind of lemon

until the uniformed man

smiled and raised his gun


higher towards the sound

a human body makes

when it’s about to fly.

I made no sound

but the sound a wraith

makes as it starves


itself goodbye.

I said sprig, said rind—

and watched him die.

First I begged, grave.

Then I said, above.

and lifted what was


left of my wing higher.


Tarfia Faizullah’s poems appear widely in periodicals and anthologies both in the United States and abroad, and have been translated into Bengali, Spanish, Persian, and Chinese. She is the author of Seam (SIU 2016) and Registers of Illuminated Villages, forthcoming from Graywolf in 2018. Her honors include two Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship, POETRY Magazine's Frederick Bock Prize, among others, and she was recently recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change. Tarfia co-directs OW!Arts with Jamaal May and is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Poetry at University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' program.

Contact Tarfia Faizullah at saeed.jones+TarfiaFaizullah@buzzfeed.com.

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