by Luisa A. Igloria
God will not keep to the outside of the skin: what we call holy lives beyond sight, in letters forming the unpronounceable name of the child who fled her birth country, her home on a street lined with dove wings and olive trees, to be pulled into a boat in the middle of the night. The craft was full of strangers, but in the center of their own anguish they made space for her and those like her for whom the world could no longer be explained or soothed with sleep. Critics say it is irrelevant, that it has nothing to do with the plastic and fiberglass forms of bodies that line the downtown glass displays: identical wrists and hands swiveled in the same direction, insteps arched and bolted to the floor. But it lives in the eye of the doctor standing in line at a coffee shop, who feels the wet offending sling of spit land on his brown face, at the beginning or end of a rain of epithets; and in the trembling of the girl whose hijab is pulled off her head as she walks to school, as the man who steps in her path flicks his lighter open and threatens to burn her. Go back, hisses the parent of the child to the high school teacher who can do mathematics in more than one language. Sometimes my hands are hot, my hands are cold. They’ve counted and counted and now they’ve run out of lives to give away for free. Through it all the moon keeps coming closer, blooming larger: wineskin filled with bullets or poems or hail. Something is coming. Or something is here. We are told this is the best time to sing.