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The Difference

It’s the difference between
whether you talk to the girl or not
whether you carry the moon home
in the seat of your pants
burning and cool
ready to lay it on your tongue
in the privacy of your room
and let its holy light burn through
your blood
Or whether you walk home
with the moon in your stomach
heavy as a rock
with all the sidewalks pulling you down
and all the well-lit buildings
of a midtown night winking on and off
Saying we know you, you’re the one who
goes home alone and types in the dark
with the small cut of your window
always blocking the light of the moon off


Eid Al-Fitr

At night, the men climb up to the rooftops
to see if they can see the moon

The sun sets first over the beaches of Brooklyn
then the meadows of Queens

The moon appears
the small clip of a nail
a paring knife
a chalk mark
left to linger in the sky

Always the sun sets first
and like Allah’s clockwork
the moon finds itself in our hands
a bird come to rest

It hangs low over buildings
crosses over street lamps
jumps rope with telephone lines
hears the Aunties’ voices
through the wires
calling each other to ask:

Has anyone seen the moon yet?
Has anyone seen the moon?

This excerpt is reprinted from Marianna’s Beauty Salon by Bushra Rehman. Copyright © 2018 by Bushra Rehman. Used with permission of the publisher, Sibling Rivalry Press. All rights reserved.

Bushra Rehman is a poet, novelist and cultural activist. Her novel Corona, a dark comedy about being South Asian American, was noted by Poets & Writers among the year’s Best Debut Fiction. Her poetry collection Marianna’s Beauty Salon was released in 2018 to great acclaim and her first YA novel Corona: Stories of a Queens Girlhood will be published by Tor/Macmillan in 2020. Rehman is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism and creator of the community-based writing workshop Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Memoir and Autobiographical Fiction.

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