Sarah Fathima Mohammed
up open-mouthed, hair fanned
across our worn beige carpet. on our roof rain loosens
like heavy breaths, difficult breaths, the sound
a body makes when it has forgotten
how to listen. mother murmurs her dead mother’s name, mistakes
heaven’s mourning for her own. i am hunched over
her, silent. i curl my pinkie around hers.
our hands: childlike, trembling like twins
in a womb. our old arguments—the yelling,
the creaky apartment door slamming—
all for this: to understand
how we are two women holding the same grief.
i remove my hoodie to wrap it around
her, the cuffs still wet, salted with my own
small sadness. later, i bring out
a mason jar from the kitchen—lemon
slices straining to hang
onto the lip of the cup, puckering in the water.
mother presses her ear to the cold
glass, as if every hurt must make a sound.
Sarah Fathima Mohammed is a brown, Muslim-American writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, wildness, DIALOGIST, Diode Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She has been named a 2021 YoungArts Finalist in Writing (Poetry) and has been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Poetry Society of the UK, and Hollins University, among others. When she is not writing, she serves as executive editor for Polyphony Lit.