Tarfia Faizullah, Pt. 1: It wanted to learn / how to carry the word

For each day of National Poetry Month one of our fellows will explore the breadth of poetry in three ways: through a question from another fellow, through a poem and through a writing prompt, #writetoday.


Muriel Leung asks, If you were the architect of a city with poetry as your only tool, what type of city would you build? Would you describe it for us?

Tarfia Faizullah answers, Detroit. 


The Scar

That’s when the scar stitched my shoulder whole

until it grew thick,

     a husk

never filling
              with breath
                            or light—

above me
        it twisted

like ant-eaten bark         It rubbed

between his thighs
              while mosquitoes brooded

Oh, their kiss-
                           hungry mouths             It skinned

              lake-water          like a scythe

It wanted to learn
                           how to carry the word


until the ochre sky wished itself

until the skin broke—

                             and that’s when the scar revealed a woman

trapped                 wet

               shaped like an ebony


Previously published in Makeout Creek.



Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press) and and can be found at www.tfaizullah.com.