Holly Mason Headshot 2019

 A Wolf Howls: Or when the poet reads in Kurdish and I cry
  
 The sounds are at once
 both warmth and displacement.
  
 A childhood memory in every line.
  
 She asks me why I cried?
  
 I miss my mother. 
 Her name: Full Moon. 
  
 I miss her light.   
  
 *
  
 In the memory, our faces mirror—
 quivering chin and wet eyes. 
  
 The gap between us 
 born out of her vision for me.
  
 “You can have these pearls
 when you get married.” As in
 marry a man. 
  
 *
  
 I make feta and date eggs 
 and then weep over the plate. 
  
 Every time I see a mother and teenage daughter
 my throat closes. 
  
 *
  
 She was a child toggling between two languages.  
 Only Arabic in public; Only Kurdish at home. 
  
 What happens when your language is a crime?
  
 *
  
 My beloved’s last name translates 
 to Light of the Full Moon. 
 Early on, I thought this was fate.
  
 Even six years later, we say goodnight with the lights on.
 Her love is tangible.  
  
 *
  
 I cried because I’m torn in half—
 A wolf howl stuck in my throat. 
 A date pit lodged. 
  
 A friend tells me about our family name—
 Khoshnaw—a tribe known for both courage and
 stubbornness.  
  
 The myth goes:
 A man tries to hammer a nail
 into the wall, but it won’t go through.
 A Khoshnaw on the other side. 
  
 *
  
 So, what happens then
  
 when each person is praying 
  
 for the other’s heart 
  
 to change?
  
  
  
  
  
  
 Parable 
  
 A feast is set.
 A cup of wine.
  
 Blessed is she who comes back
 For she will inherit her parent’s favor. 
  
 The wine tastes of turpentine. 
 The feast turns intervention.
  
 Fear begins in the mind,
 But consumes the body. 
  
 Fear is the wafer on your tongue.
 Fear is the tongue in your mouth. 
  
  



Holly Mason received her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University in 2017. Her poetry, interviews, and reviews have been published in The Adroit Journal, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, The Northern Virginia Review, Foothill Poetry Journal, University of Arizona Poetry Center Blog, Entropy, CALYX, and elsewhere. She received a Bethesda Urban Partnership Poetry prize, selected by E. Ethelbert Miller. She has been a reader and panelist for OutWrite in DC (a Celebration of Queer Literature) and participated in DC’s Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here events as a Kurdish-American poet. Holly is currently on the staff of Poetry Daily and lives in Northern Virginia.

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