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Two Poems by Ayesha Asad

Prayer of the City


yesterday I asked the sun

what she was grateful for & she said

the blue of the earth & the stars that dance

around her & the way she spins

in happy circles I dream the afternoon

is hog-tied like a mockingbird,

wings fractured, waiting for sundown

to release it in the same prayer

that shudders in the lungs

of a dying man & I sit where the leaves

grow in patches like the hair

on my father’s head & I think of the way

the mockingbird cradled grains

in her beak to feed her injured lover

I wonder what makes the sky

the sky & the earth

the earth


yes, I have run over beauty

in my bone-weary gray van yes

I have patched it together, sewed it

with spools of love yes

I have written love letters

to god yes

I have asked him why the ocean

never spills over with tears yes

I have trusted yes

I have looked at the earth as a prayer,


blood soaked by dirt, dirt scattered

by wind. yesterday I frowned upon the people

who yank sunflowers off their roots

before they bloom

today I tell them peace & peace again

& peace again & let us pray together

on the same carpet & let us sing our praises

to god let god fill our bodies

with streams & let us float overhead

& spangle the sky




Linguistic Crisis


I fear this earth

is not a song. As if some preacher

swallowed a goldmine, lapped up language

& smote his lips with rain, the kind

that strikes like a bullet. Language,

like a beautified chord of spring, or the fresh spice

of an olive tree, can spike & snap, can morph into a charred

log, woodgrain flayed. A fruit with its color

peeled away. I fear language, & I fear truth.

My body stripped of skin craves warmth. & when

rivers undulate I dream music pulsing

within their bones. Oh,

to be a warm river. To be the water fairy-light

upon my preacher’s tongue, unconscious

of whom it dances for. God is great & God is merciful,

if he created this song of an earth. Whom will

I marionette for if the trees are combed

of their melody?





Ayesha Asad is from Dallas, Texas. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in PANK, Cosmonauts Avenue, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Menacing Hedge, Neologism Poetry Journal, Santa Clara Review,The Mantle, and elsewhere. Her writing has been recognized by Creative Writing Ink Journal and the Robert Bone Memorial Creative Writing Prize. She studies Literature and Biology at the University of Texas at Dallas. In her free time, she likes to dream. She was born in 2001. You can find her on Twitter & Instagram @ayes_lion.

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