The Body Has Deep-Rooted Memory

Maryam Ghafoor
| poetry


Mine reaches beyond my lifetime, far
into the past, my friend Iris tells me.
Ancestral, another word for the way
sound can sometimes be too much,
the roar of an airplane engine. Sunglasses for
the Lincoln Park Xmas lights. My uncle
makes everyone park and repark their car
when we come to visit. My mother
hoards salt and ketchup, creamer and mustard,
mints, sporks. Further back, further back,
light, wind—what more can I say? A prayer
rug was never just that, of course, of course,
art as meditation, cotton as transportation.
Spiritual the ultimate filler word.
A flight is a flight no matter what you call it.
I can’t say enough about trees, how my dil swelled
when I saw that gorgeous hollow. Urdu
has so many words for love. Sufism doesn’t
need names, only stories, visions. Aural,
meaning I know only what my mother
has told me. There are trees. There is breath.
Prayer can be the body leaning and leaning.
Branches, bark, leaves. That hollow hollow heart.

Maryam Ghafoor is a queer Muslim Pakistani-American poet from Illinois. Her work has been published in Vassar Review, American Poetry Review, Spry, The South Carolina Review, SOFTBLOW, and elsewhere.

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