About the Author


I ask the lion lurking beyond the irascible tempt of longing

     to open his mouth and come closer, closer. I put my head

inside his jaws, feel the moist smite of hot breath against

     my cheeks, catch a shiver of antelope blood on my tongue.

I call him King, ask if he prefers a different name, if

     the unspeakable loneliness of kings ever makes him wish

he lived elsewhere, perhaps in a luxury loft in some sprawling city,

     had an office job that paid a touch too well, could ride

a train to and from work, nurse a planter of grass on his balcony

     and sweet-dream it into the Serengeti whenever he felt

a pang of homesickness blooming in his gut. I turn to look down

     his throat, expecting to see a pink fleshy cave of

hunger. Instead, I find a round window revealing the peppery

     blackness of night, a host of giddy stars shooting

through the vastness. I forget my life is hovering on the wild

     edge of slaughter, then remember. I close my eyes,

expecting each passing second to be my last, for the lion’s teeth

     to tear into my face, crush my skull like a cantaloupe.

I wait until I become a part of him, until the sky cowers into itself,

     swallowing me like a tooth. Soon I sense him crying,

a child’s soft, voiceless sobbing, a song. I open my eyes, see

     I’m wearing a watch, sitting alone on a park bench in the dying

orange of evening, feeding stale bread to a posse of pigeons,

     while above me an airplane crashes into the sun.


Faisal Mohyuddin is the author of The Displaced Children of Displaced Children (Eyewear Publishing, 2018), selected by Kimiko Hahn as the winner of the 2017 Sexton Prize, and the chapbook The Riddle of Longing (Backbone Press, 2017). His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Narrative, RHINO, Chicago Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. An alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s Teachers for Global Classrooms program and an educator adviser to Narrative 4, Faisal teaches English at Highland Park High School in Illinois and lives with his wife and son in Chicago.