for Jalal Dhiyab Thijeel
When it is night enough to uncoil
Nas from your pocket radio, you slip him
into the hush of a classroom—
its cluster of small seats flooded
with rainwater the color of an oiled moon.
From the window, two men
you do not see, lift the edges
of their dishdashas like brides
afraid of dirtying their dress, wait
for the flicker
of classroom lights, for the dark
that will drink the rocking shouts.
Your fast and quiet
blood, thinned with water,
pools under the dust
of the streetlamp, the static hum;
they step over and leave you
to be found.
Joumana Altallal was born in Baghdad to Iraqi and Lebanese parents. Before being resettled in Charlottesville, Virginia, she lived as a child in Southern Lebanon. She is currently a first year M.F.A candidate in poetry at the University of Michigan and works with Citywide Poets to lead an after-school poetry program for high school students in Metro Detroit.