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Graffiti and Mohammed Mahmoud Street

by Christine Aziz


Come when the street is silent
and there is no witness.
Park your vans.
Raise your ladders.
Bring out the cans
of white paint.
Blast your blizzard
over me. That’s right.
Obliterate my wings.
My black-brush words.
My martyrdom. That’s right.
You did it before
with bullets and guns.
My mother takes a knife.
Scratches at my burial.
Turns my shroud to dust
until an eye emerges,
radiant, a skylight in the wall.

Mohammed Mahmoud Street

She walks across the ticket hall
draped in black, clutching a framed photograph
like a shield.

The son who never came home
smiles at strangers as if from a window
shut in her heart.

She ascends to the light,
bearing her mausoleum of silence,
walks to where the mourners stand.

There’s a place somewhere near the curb
where he stood—guns with
the small, dark mouths of birds, aiming.

Every day she sees the hand that held the gun,
severed and alone,
smaller than her son’s, perhaps.

Buttoning a shirt, turning a lock,
steering a wheel, lifting a cup,
holding a hand, waving.

She imagines fingers unhinging,
selecting a spoon.
The injustice of stirring tea.

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