Girls That Never Die

Safia Elhillo

a girl buried to the chest
in red earth her wrists

bound beneath the soil
with twine a crowd gathers

to father her its infinite
hands curved loosely around

a stone small enough
that no single throw is named

as cause of death no single
hand accountable to the blood

the girl undaughter unnamed
unfaced undone from the lineage

her photographs pulled already
from bookshelf from walls her father

among the hands his pebble
streaked with quartz the first to rise

to carve the air & arc toward the girl
the rootless tree faceless & erect

& perhaps the stones twisting
like fireworks the girl

their nucleus rise & rise
for a time opposite of rain

opposite of ?hail & perhaps the silence
a beat too long & another

another & then a rustling
of ?wings above the girl

a flock thick mixed cloud
of avifauna partridge & nightjar

& golden sparrow & avocet
& lapwing & every other sort

of ?plover & ibis & heron & gulls
though the sea is far & to the north

& the minutes pass & the girl is untouched
& each bird in its beak tongues a stone

[what if? i will not die]

[what will govern me then]

[how to govern me then]

[what bounty then on my name]

[what stone what rope what man

will be my officer]

Last updated September 27, 2022