Back to Issue Twenty-Two.

can i apologize now



Have I returned all of Beirut:
the trash made high as an Ottoman wall

to keep the city out of the city.
One gull inside an airplane engine:

I haven’t seen Meimei in two years.
I’m afraid of her funeral. The six closets

of petite size pantsuits and muumuus.
Oh yes, I’ve wanted too much of her,

of the mountain saints
we returned to in the winters,

to ask for the right way to drink,
the gay bars where I tried to turn men,

seaman dialect, waxed everything,
sunset I dyed my hair after, sea I refused

to swim in for years, until the night I did,
a white boy’s hands pulling the tide,

seven million years of dead mornings,
like a grubby sheet over our heads.


Hala Alyan is an award-winning Palestinian American poet, novelist and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in numerous journals including the Missouri ReviewPrairie Schooner, and Colorado Review. She is the author of three books of poetry and the novel Salt Houses, recently released from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She resides in Brookyln with her husband.

Next (Corrie Williamson) >

< Previous (Maggie Smith)