Back to Issue Forty-One

February Augury

BY SARAH GHAZAL ALI

 

Yulan magnolias blossom first
as birds

little feathered fists
I admit to

imagining could harm me,
extending barefaced

from trees, the known
homes of jinn

I’m told. The night deepens and
locusts halo my head

or don’t. Believe me
I barely believe

the heralds I’ve seen, the mirror
windowed if I stare

a beat too long, my face refracting
others, foremothers,

my beloved’s hands rising
in supplication under winter

rain, stopping after spotting
the dead sparrow by the door

bent like a comma—
as if asking him

to pause, or telling me
to wait.

 

 

Parable of Flies

BY SARAH GHAZAL ALI

I heard them, wings beating
a din beyond the thistle, pilgrims
beckoned by the promise of carrion.

Lured by the lurid, I followed
their song off the path, turned my back
to the lake. Angels fled the quarry,

thirst a blight in their wake. The flies,
their mouths roved like dogs
the breast of a sundered wren,

chest wide as a lens, steady
spectator of its own death.
This is an economy

of asylum. Ruddy flesh calls
come and brutes abound,
haloing their open-handed new home.

I’m divining my body a dirtied domestic.
When it rains, devotion is the womb
I’ve hollowed to keep desire dry.

Sarah Ghazal Ali is the author of Theophanies (Alice James Books, 2024) and a 2022-23 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University. She currently serves as editor for Palette Poetry. Find her at sarahgali.com.

Next (Leyla Çolpan) >

< Previous (Editor’s Note)