Open Heart Surgery – Sophia Schlesinger

The small bird that flew from your mouth
on the day we finally buried the summer
made a noise that sounded to me like aman
a word I have never seen in person before.
though I thought I heard it once;
my mother was weeping in the night
when no one could hear her but the cicadas.
Back home, aman is fever––that is,
symptom : a shape left behind
after all the guns had been buried
symptom: the sound the wind makes
when it blows through stone that used to be a house
symptom: a performance given by women,
their faces all look like my mother’s;
the men step outside to smoke.
After you,
I pushed my grandmother’s shaking hand
into the surface of my skin with ink and needle
so that I would not forget to make space in my heart
for things other than ghosts.

About the Author: Sophia Schlesinger is a student at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, where she studies literature and human rights. She is particularly interested in human rights and the relationship between social justice and art. She would like to thank her mother for teaching her, among many things, to always live in the light and to always carry a pen.

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