Jacksonville, Alabama

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.

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