Volume 24, Number 4


Your mother called about the drone
that killed you in the village
she said they gleaned pieces of you
from the mixture of wood in bone
blood in water
it took them no time to collect you
you glistened out like gold in the net of
collateral damage paraphernalia
books, plastic
spoons, bricks, first love, teeth

On the phone
in the bright silence that haloed her sobs
laces of your sneakers, cubes of your
fingers spiraled down like leaves
I leapt to collect them but coated in anti
terror alchemy
they tore through my skirt and dug
down the earth’s mane
they grew little ears and squatted next to its heart
wondering if it's
still beating?

She said you had stepped out to get mangoes
sitting on the missile that killed you I
saw your face light up
when you saw me approach
you opened your pubescent arms and guiltlessly I
exploded in the goo of your unripe chest
your calves sweet
mango pulp
I woke up last night with a whiff of you
in my mouth

I woke up last night with a whiff of you
in my mouth
breathing deeply for the emergency
doctor I told him how much
I miss you
his stethoscope still a cool circle on my breast
his neck sore from delivering
bad news

it’s relapse of nostalgia
it’s identity crisis
it’s the death of idealism
it’s what happens when you think you don't believe
in patriotism anymore
when you leave love behind
when on it you turn your back
we have no cure for that.

—Asnia Asim