everything, everywhere all at once – Michigan Quarterly Review

everything, everywhere all at once

Published in Spring 2024 Online Folio

Spring 2024 | Dalia Elhassan Reads “everything, everywhere, all at once” MQR Sound

Dalia Elhassan reads “everything, everywhere, all at once” for the Michigan Quarterly Review's Spring 2024 issue “African Writing: A Partial Cartography of Provocations”. Read the text for this piece on the MQR website.

the basement to crying is laughing.

after the movie, my girls & i wand our grief

into cups of shai as if it were honey.

over tea, yi tells me you are safe in this feeling.

            i don’t say to her i have never known safety.

instead, i sift through my languages

            there aren’t enough words in any of them

            to express the depth of my loneliness.

in an alternate universe, we are afforded the luxury of rocks. 

that is: to be still. unmarked, unbothered, untouched.

            masses of land occupying endless space,

            a soft patch of dirt to fall on.

inside the house of my body, the lights flicker on and off

& memories flash like lightning in the window frame.

            my father peeling back the cracks

            of flesh on the bottom of his toes,

            a small consequence

            of the eighteen hours

            he stood on them.

            my mother asleep at the dining room table

            her body a blanket over books & looseleaf notes.

            my sister standing alone outside

            a hospital where she will admit

            to being the composer of her own vanishing.

            my brother, fourteen, wearing

            bruises on his neck where hands once were.

            myself, untethered, witness to the ways

            loss lingers on everything i love

            how it happens perpetually

            everywhere, all at once—

            remnants of these recollections emanate

            from the walls of my body,

            & that too is a curse.

More poems by Dalia Elhassan in MQR’s African Writing Online Folio:

This piece is from our Spring 2024 African Writing Online Folio, an online-exclusive extension of our special issue, “African Writing: A Partial Cartography of Provocations,” guest edited by Chris Abani. You can read more from our Spring 2024 issue, available for purchase in print and digital forms here.

Dalia Elhassan is a Sudanese-American poet and writer living in NYC. Her work has been featured in The Kenyon Review, The Oakland Arts Review, Rattle #59, and most recently in the New-Generation African Poets Series (Sita) with her chapbook, In Half Light (2019, Akashic Books and the African Poetry Book Fund). She is the recipient of the Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Prize for nonfiction and was shortlisted for the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She can be found online @daliaelhassan.

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