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Poems

KHAIRANI BAROKKA Horizon Who will count our ledgers when Sun pops over the Golan Heights, bird feeders filled with ossified seed sludge, metal corroding in the mouths of cockroaches, no one to understand how I made you moan, Catalan, or Fermat’s Theorem, no soul to comprehend tangents, singularity, the trappedness of living. What did I ask Allah for when I was slight, in my own row at the school masjid, uniformed. Did I ask for eternal life in an Eden interpreted by women. Did I want the ticking of thermometer spikes as a way to ascertain that yes, hellfire and Noah’s flood would come back around for the lot of us. Eons of wisdom in the great West Sumatran edifice was burned in a fire, my veins preserving a wistful hum to the tune of crackling. Nothing is new. Spears and gunpowder, noose on a slave in Batavia, old folks thinking they’d once been the babes slung over their father’s backs. I miss a time when my elders smiled alive on us, but scores then had already died on the spark of a stealth Washingtonian hit list, around virescent fields. When do we ever know to turn off the clock, what a portion of time ever means in multitude. If all those mocking were truthful, they’d be a dribbling constancy of tears, hooting cackles, nostalgia pouring into mugs of tight facts. All ochre glow not found in accumulation of bells, induced by a sense for numbers of acolytes,

30 The Poetry Review

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