Winter 2024 • Vol. XLVI No. 1 PoetryDecember 5, 2023 |

Fatal Music

The Kenyon Review · "Fatal Music" by Sarah Ghazal Ali The leaves of the fig tree are lobed and bright. In another country, they shade me before I learn to register them. Faith follows me like this. Never heavy, and whole with or without me. At dusk, I walk through an orchard and choir its fruit into the basin I make of my blouse. I love most that object which evokes another. How the split fig on my tongue leaks honey, the gummy resin of eternal rivers. In the other country, I begin to impersonate a more desirable self: penumbra. From mosque to mosque I carry a book of elegies. A purple shawl I pull shyly over my hair. What is it you urgently ask for if not transformation? How hungry my gaze is to swell, but the angels are indifferent to me. In home videos, my child self presses her face to the camera and asks, over and over, Are you looking at me? Seeing her face erodes something in mine, though I’ve finally grown into her eyes. The angels elsewhere tune their instrum

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Photo of Sarah Ghazal Ali

Sarah Ghazal Ali is the author of Theophanies (Alice James Books, 2024), selected as the Editors’ Choice for the 2022 Alice James Award. She was a Gregory Djanikian Scholar and winner of the 2022 Sewanee Review Poetry Prize, and her poems and essays appear in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Pleiades, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor for West Branch and a 2022–23 Stadler Fellow.

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Theophanies

By Sarah Ghazal Ali

The Kenyon Review · "Fatal Music" by Sarah Ghazal Ali The leaves of the fig tree are lobed and bright. In another country, they shade me before I learn to […]

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