teaching my daughter
her native tongue

her mouth is full of burning ash
her hair, her hands covered
where she came from, I will tell her
how I carried her across a grey and cutting sea
and how that must be where she got her eyes
her body is a civil war—
arm of Israel
hand of Palestine
even the way her name rolls
off my tongue is a riot
even her cry at night
is a fire

First published in The Comstock
Review Fall/Winter 2017

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© 2021 Morgan Liphart