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for my grandmother

The oranges come in little red bags, like Christmas, like comfort, like a country, burning, like the bags a woman carries her country in, and in my brother’s hands is an orange, bursting, and in a soldier’s hands is a woman, opening, and the bags promise that the oranges are seedless, that they are soft, and clean, and dead, and all I can think of is how you told me that after the war, when the men were done with the women, they’d collect their bodies in fields of bags, bulging, ripening, ready—for what are bones if not seeds waiting to be planted, what are bodies if not secrets promised, what is war if not a waiting harvest—and O sweet mother, you watch me and my brother eat, you watch our soft untouched bodies, and we will grow strong, we will forget, and you will remain, remembering—before you, your husband is prostrate in prayer, his body ablaze, and he looks to you, a country in his eyes, his arms reaching, his hands two oranges—

Lydia Abedeen is a rising second-year MFA+MA poetry candidate at Northwestern’s Litowitz Graduate Creative Writing Program. Her scholarly research resides in studying power structures of cults and the depiction of monstrosity and femininity in literature. She is a 2021 Tin House Scholar and a 2021 Bucknell Summer Undergraduate Poetry Fellow, and her writing has been supported by the University of Iowa. She has been published in The Rumpus and is forthcoming in Poetry Online. You can follow her on Twitter @lydia_abedeen.
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5 Jun 2023

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