Aria Aber

At the Hospital My Language

plugs palm-fronds into our ears
administers everything the color

of illness. Mother of egg-white;
glossolalia. I am TV screen, antlered

branch-systems. So the I becomes
a faux fur to warm in. Window-bench,

box of stale peppermints. I swallow,
I antelope. I desperate

to identify with everything I look at:
brief sky; brief mother, the minute fiction

of our oneness solidifies
when it places my I onto your I—

I, I’ve come to know, is the essence
of power. Nothing that breathes

is truly faultless, they told us,
and the feather in the fold of your sheets

lit up because of it. Fault is pale knees—
no, a gold flash in the nestling’s buzz

on a day like this: glimmer
me, face of termination. The sun is a rude

cousin with no empathy. But family
is family; the awkward shell

I harbor, crack—avian eyelids,
light, yolk—

and then that window. Slit-white. Arsenic.
I eat, I insurance. And to sustain you,

I tie prayers to peacock
feet, then feed them to the lake.

Aria Aber was born to Afghan parents in Munster, Germany. Her work has appeared in Best British Poetry 2015, Muzzle Magazine, Prelude, Reservoir Journal, decomP, and others. She has been awarded the New Writing Prize in Poetry from Wasafiri, and fellowships from Kundiman and Dickinson House. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at NYU, where she serves as a Writers in Public Schools fellow.