Jacksonville, Alabama

Ronnie Festok

This is as far from war

As I’ll ever be, among 


Gun stores and flea markets,

Hitch-hike and pick-pocket.


The finite is an afternoon

Pastime spent in graveyards


As the air cloys with eulogy

Or simmering heat or church


Bells – I don’t recall. I only remember 

The taste of honeysuckle fondly,


The spectacle of their unveiling

Desire. Here, everything 


Makes a name out of its absence.

Lonicera chrysantha.


Dolly’s Craft Store. My mother

And her hijab. What else


Do we keep but our names?

Even this voice will one day wilt - 


Forget the dead laughing at us

And our attempts to make a home.

Ronnie Festok is a Syrian-American who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He is currently a junior at Emory University and has work published in Vinyl.