when I talk to my mother about loss

she says human         she says el rasool

even the prophet       peace be upon him

lost some of his children


and I see him wide eyed still searching

beads between his burning fingers

almost humming   ayah after ayah

his heart newly washed in a bowl of snow


and I am running after him  moss smearing

on my shins     yelling his name

like a fire erupted in my throat    flames

at my teeth curving into a battle


and he never stops      doesn’t turn around

the cloth he’s wrapped within never once

catches on to the branches     his shoulders

spread back to near snapping point


and I hear the nightjar flying from branch

to branch      its call changing each time it turns

a moth withering on its tongue    then later a stone to throw.


Nadra Mabrouk is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at New York University where she is a Goldwater Fellow.