S P E L L   F O R   L E A V I N G

             [Strip mall. “To gossip is to eat his flesh”]

With words 
Ali explains 
you can eat someone 
alive Tells the holy book
we unbone unstring 
the sweet pound this never solid
flesh Chewing 
like a sheep 
this butter of whatever was beautiful 

             [Inside A Soldier’s Fury]

The Muslim Village has an hour break 
Omar sets up his barber stand 
under the pines 
he trims Yusuf’s hair 
he threads my eyebrows 
Ralia says do her upper lip 
too  Hunger swells
the clouds, spidering 
their shadows over 
stripped mud fields  
We joke sharply 
in Arabic  The soldiers dreamed us up 
they dreamed about Arabic  
Say whatever you want 
just say it in Arabic  

             [Outside Yusuf’s apartment]
The Christians call the Muslims pimps
Or the reverse I write the root 
for the word
singular then plural

There is a door in every word
behind it, someone grieving

             [You Cannot Go Home]    

On the other side of the forest, men 
scoop imagined ashes into a silver bowl  
In the scenario hatched by the American military 
the Muslim village burns the Christian village 

Over the mock grave 
they open the real earth 
and seed fresh pinecones 
They cross themselves over
the needles they sing Amazing Grace

Dew blinks over wild onion fields 
and by the end 
pollen everywhere, 
in the crevices of all you own
The car washes in these parts 
claim we can get it off completely

B Y   N O M I   S T O N E

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

W A R   G A M E , A M E R I C A

B Y   N O M I   S T O N E

Nomi Stone’s second collection of poems, Kill Class is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2018. She is also the author of the poetry collection Stranger’s Notebook (TriQuarterly, 2008), a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Anthropology at Princeton University, and an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Warren Wilson College. She has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and was a Creative Writing Fulbright Scholar in Tunisia. Poems appear or are forthcoming in The New Republic, The Best American Poetry 2016, The Best Emerging Poets 2014-15, Poetry Northwest, Sixth Finch, diode, and elsewhere.

One day, tectonic plates scalded the whole
            apart, & this sea (it
was once), until it was 
            corralled between 
mountains & air molecules
            like birds carried it
away leaving only a bed 
            of salt, cornering
sun & air into mirrors, so water seems
             to appear, but there was no
such water, even though those watching 
             from afar insisted we could drink
our own water even as the ocean already
             had tightened trying to never
breathe even though it had to &
             each time the air took & lift
the car keys Nomi lift Nomi them Nomi can you 
             will you Nomi lift.