Jan/Feb 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 1 Poetry |

Letter to Rania in Amman

Ashburn, Virginia ‌ Today, I took the kids by stroller past the monochromatic buildings of brick and vinyl-slick houses on cul-de-sacs, each mirroring the last. How is it a year— no, more— has passed? Sixty-odd weeks of dust-busting mac-n-cheese beneath the highchair, watching Dinosaur Train, Sesame Street. Fall's almost gone. The stroller crunches what's left of leaves, and the air's that pale deep blue not unlike the sky above Amman late October when restaurants shut down their balconies for the season. Sunday I followed a woman through Target feigning interest in robes to hear her speak Arabic. ahmar or aswad?— she didn't know. When did M'aani go? K. said he took a UN post in Africa before Talal spoke his first word. I imagine you walking through Abdoun as we used to to the children's barbershop, the one with chairs that look like planes, Talal in a plastic booster. They say things are easier in the States. In many ways that's true. We had the wh

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Shara Lessley, a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, is the author of Two-Headed Nightingale (New Issues, 2012). Her awards include the Mary Wood Fellowship from Washington College, the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, and Colgate University’s Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship, among others. A recent resident of the Middle East, Shara was awarded a 2015 Poetry Fellowship from the NEA and is currently editing an anthology of essays on poetry and place with the poet Bruce Snider.

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The Countervoice

By Shara Lessley

Ashburn, Virginia ‌ Today, I took the kids by stroller past the monochromatic buildings of brick and vinyl-slick houses on cul-de-sacs, each mirroring the last. How is it a year— […]

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