Zaghareed: A Chronology

by Lena Tuffaha

The first time it tumbled out with imperfect edges but proof it had
lived there all along spiraling a girl delighted with her long skirt
spinning to show her aunts what its ruffled hem could do

***

The second time was at a wedding the old women louder a current
that lifted it young bird trilling with more ambition than wingspan

***

The third time I was alone wondering at my own sounds
could they sway like the women who balance a row of gold coins and
a tray of henna on their heads who welcome the bridegroom as he
descends the white horse

***

The fourth time was at a graduation and it gleamed link by link
above the thick curls of a name

***

The fifth time I swallowed it a mouthful of shrapnel as the procession
returned the dead boy to his mother        the women’s eyes
rimmed the color of pomegranates holding the mother up and coaxing
it from her clenched jaw

***

The sixth time was at an airport there were women waiting and
when their wait ended their song broke the sky and mine held me
among them

***

The seventh time was at a hair salon the seventh time I was also
someone’s mother the seventh time the woman who makes the
coffee rushed over and said the bride is leaving the seventh time she
clarified
her mother is dead        there is no one to send her off we’re going to
now Stand here

***

and it was the first time the whole flock took flight pulsing from
somewhere beneath my ribs until I was light-headed and the walls
hummed with our murmuration the stand-in mothers carrying
the ivory edge of her veil with our voices the walls loosening their
ligaments to let her pass through ululating until she was no longer
visible in the doorway.