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The morning father boards a plane to Kabul
I strangle the hours in the law my lolling azalea.
Embarrassed by her naked scent,

I’m reminded of my first American morning,
how the high-pitched singing of her petals
touches my inside skin. This is what

I want to excel in: gardens, elixirs of thought,
no one draping the stench of severed limbs,
yet the catacomb hymns for me. I prune

leaves, drown soil in the sink like throes
of a prayer. Dear limen of death, stay away
from my seat in the house of the being

of truth as I read the news. 21600 pounds,
weight of 134 of my fathers, the Mother
Of All Bombs eructs acres into

a guttural throb. Mother, what is the order
of violence? I expect father’s death every time
he flies home, and sometimes I want him

to dishevel into a mouthful of worms—
I’d be offered a why to plea to. Indoor azaleas
prefer shade, imitating roots of trees,

but what do I know of geneses? For eleven
years I lied about where I’m from,
ashamed by the music of endings,

that deep hollow bell. How much of my yearly
tax is spent to bomb the dirt
that birthed me?, is a question

I never wanted to consider. Let’s fuck
while a farm in Nangarhar erupts with dead
cows—bodies—oh, the flies… what I need

to know is how to say nonnuclear without
having to say azalea, azalea, azalea. To look
at a page without looking away. Let’s fuck

until our bodies decay, let’s practice hard
for heaven. Under the faucet, the azalea
perks up her thousand heads as if drunk

on good news, while I google pictures of home:
every mountain, every forest foregrounds
a camouflaged man, a rifle. And I cannot see

their faces, who is foreign, who native.

Aria Aber has work featured in Best British Poetry, Muzzle Magazine, Prelude, and others. She has been awarded fellowships from Dickinson House and Kundiman and reads poetry for The Adroit Journal. Born to Afghan parents in Germany, she now lives in New York, where she is an MFA candidate in poetry at NYU and serves as a Writers in Public Schools fellow.

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