Tarfia Faizullah
West Texas Nocturne

Because the sky burned, I had to unhinge

from the window the mesh screen

to step out onto the roof where the world was

an orange freshly peeled. I held


to my nose my fingertips scented with spring.

Beside me fluttered the wings

of another promise I made you but didn’t keep.

I sat there for hours until my thighs


were raw, cut open by those rough shingles.

I didn’t know yet how to run,

to tether myself farther and farther afield.

This was before your other daughter


died and none of us wept, but long after

those old pumpjacks no longer

needled the horizon clean. The velvet mat stayed

unfolded, but I told you I prayed


anyway. The sky began to hunger for stars.

I counted each scorched one.

Found In Volume 43, No. 01
Read Issue
  • tarfia
Tarfia Faizullah
About the Author

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry’s First Book Award.