about the author

Hajjar Baban is a Pakistan-born Afghan Kurdish poet. She is a current First Wave Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studies Creative Writing, Arabic, and Persian. Her work appears in The Offing, Foundry, New Delta Review, and Radius Lit. She spends most of her time avoiding running from herself.

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One Poem  

Hajjar Baban

Every Time I Get a Cold Sore

my mother says to spray perfume over the yellowed
flesh I douse everything except,
                                      I want her to be
right but sometimes I dream and I’m only
of fear after I wake. My heart around my head
see it only when God can punish me;
imagine looking down to her
helping her up the stairs,
     I outgrew my parents and no one cares
to hear it—
            I hurt     & I give it
to someone I cry & I let myself
alone                 I shout & I hear my mother leave
not the same childlike leftness     I am grown now
and don’t think too much that I wanted to learn how
to say the word ache for her when I first learned it
in school          I knew fear and so we went.
I knew tired & I was for most of it. So my mother tells me
I must’ve been afraid
of something in my sleep, though we both
know I left control to my body, didn’t shriek
as I had the dream again, as I got out of water
with rows of red fish on my chest, being
the human that took another’s life, no
I drew out the eagerness, learned to beg, sunk in
the spirit, asked no one what I saw in the morning.

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