Catch-22

A kid with his hand in the cookie jar
Hears footsteps on the stairs and knows
He can’t put the lid on without making the noise that will give him away.

Kirkuk

after Ilya Kaminsky

Let us wash our faces of this dust and forget how the dirt collects in our wounds.
Let the women mourn the way they have never had the time to mourn their men.
Let their men kneel on the roof, clearing their throats, and know those are not guns in their hands
but telescopes, they want to see the universe unfold without a bang.
Let our hearts beat fast without pulling our triggers.
Let there be room for doubt.

What is silence? Something of the sky in us.

We are on our bellies in this silence, Lord.

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Bloodletting

after Nate Klug

To stand for the first time
Outside myself

To look in,
A hangman’s noose around my neck
And feel no remorse
And yet regret

There is no name
For this lawless labyrinth

We have claimed it
For it to claim us.

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