When I find the first letter   in the garden among the green beans I try to ignore it
think           it a weed          it grows and    grows blank                ink a foot         off the raised bed
tail like                   a flaccid flag   this ي               I have thought

expected someone would  find me                 letters turn to rot                 left in       the ground              too long
everything turns                 bitter                so I clutch at the          neck pull
it     out         gloved fingers   stained black                       I look for the dots
find them in the strawberries                     already sprouted

strawberries turning
dark I know to expect         a word           another letter or more in     this                         american soil I soak
this ي in water                    wait for it to soften                 wait for the next letter

an ا in the cherry tomato   bush    I pluck early                pluck easy peel the glossy outer skin             put the two letters      together this     ا and this ي     I roll                the edges         until
they combine                    the first                        and the last
towel off the moisture             they sweat for hours

I find no more letters  for weeks       my first word  يا          and I wait to hear who is calling



Aiya Sakr is a Palestinian-American. She is the author of Her Bones Catch the Sun (The Poet’s Haven, 2018). A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in Mizna, Nimrod, BAHR, and elsewhere. She has a master’s degree in literature and writing from Utah State University. Currently, she’s completing an MFA in poetry at Purdue University, where she serves as Poetry Editor for Sycamore Review.

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