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asmarani makes prayer by Safia Elhillo

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I find myself at the bottom of the barrel again. Scraping at whatever I can scrape. Again and again. Again and again. What is insanity, and I don’t say that lightly.

I’m exhausted at wearing my pain around my neck like an identification card. I’m exhausted of being apologetic for being this way, and yet I can’t find any other way to be.

Every time I patch myself up, another wound blooms somewhere, in some corners of my self I thought I’d already killed.

asmarani makes prayer
Safia Elhillo

verily everything that is lost will be
given a name & will not come back
but will live forever

& verily a border-shaped wound will
be licked clean           by songs naming
the browngirl          in particular          verily she
will not heal but          verily the ghosts will
not leave her alone verily when asked how
she got her name          if telling the truth           she
will say          [a woman died           & everything
                                        wants a home]

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This poem appeared in The January Children by Safia Elhillo, published by the University of Nebraska Press, 2017. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Safia ElhilloFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

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