The smooth places on my palms are maps,
smoother than my skin,
smoother than the desert.
Voluble letters to you where you now hold
my hands, listening to my blood thrumming
through softened tissue.
And I consider whether I’ve tired of
repeating old stories, and just want to wait and dry
like laurel leaves dry, and are collected in a jar.
I want to give you dried laurel leaves,
and hear your stories now.
So unfasten yours, I will listen and look,
and try to gather you from faded images
of women and men standing solidly
near your limbs, and in the places
where you cover and keep your name.

Magdalawit Makonnen is an Ethiopian-born writer residing in Los Angeles, CA. She received her English BA with a focus in Creative Writing from UCLA, and is currently pursuing her MFA in the Creative Writing program at Antioch University Los Angeles. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Pyrta (India), African Writing Magazine (UK), The View From Here (UK), MiPOesias, The Prose-Poem Project, Volt, and other publications.

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