so when the sun rose evangelically the next day,
on Wednesday, there was no way to exactly explain
the state of mind or what held the State itself intact.

       The morning prior, non-state actors committed
the crime of the new century, converted commercial
airliners into analogues of guided missiles. Aero-
phobia swiftly overcame the population, even me, who
as a little boy committed playtime to jet plane models,
never pretending anything other than a smooth landing.

       That would’ve been enough panic, but it didn’t stop there—
the air currents that cool hot heads moved into the past
tense, the silence settled in, the fear became increasingly
dangerous for lacking the specificity of familiar landmarks.

       The people couldn’t point to al-Qaeda on a map, so the people
pointed everywhere; every border collapsed except those of
our bodies which were subject, not sovereign. In the weeks
after the attacks, many of us slept through the night with
American flags over our icy bones as comforters, not thinking
this to be a premonition of decades of dead soldiers to follow.

       While the adults followed the news minute by minute, riling
themselves up to retaliate, I tailed brown kids through school
halls like shade cast in human shape, tallied them outnumbered
like I was, the mass of students suddenly aware of what Muslims
“look like” swelling to great size, swayed by a sensational media.

       I knew when Nader referred to himself as a sand nigger
in my presence, casually, it was his way of dapping up.
When Jeet never came outside, I figured it was to avoid
confusion around country of origin. Nisreen’s people
       didn’t even have a country, but there was no point in
saying that aloud, not when the second President Bush
had given his generals the green light, their latitude and
longitude limitless in the legislative terms set by Congress.

       World War II was the last war the United States won
and the last it fought by letter: we must call what came
afterward another name. We await words for what we’re
living through to be born, to help put death to the death.

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Spring 2024

Issue 107

The Spring 2024 issue features work by Mona Kareem, as translated by Sara Elkamel, as well as new poems by Mary Ruefle, Paul Muldoon, Khaled Mattawa, Marilyn Chin, Maria Stepanova, Timothy Donnelly, B.K. Fischer, Katie Peterson, Kimiko Hahn, and John Kinsella, among many others. This is André Naffis-Sahely’s final issue as poetry editor and it includes a valedictory editorial. Also featured are translations from Arabic, French, Hindi, Macedonian and Russian, as well as ‘House of Feels’, a craft essay by Dana Levin on sublimating pain through poetry, while Isabelle Baafi interviews Terrance Hayes and Tim Z. Hernandez.

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