Josette Akresh-Gonzales



My friends, I have placed my forehead

on the woven prayer mat in a mosque


And I have drunk tea in tiny, heavy glasses

cross-legged on a Persian rug in a living room


At the mosque I pulled on a long cotton skirt

from a bin at the door


And at the break of the Ramadan fast I said

salaam to my neighbor’s (my best friend’s)

mother’s friends and sisters and air-kissed

cheeks like French sophisticates


In America my father and her father could play

backgammon with no hard feelings they said

welcome come in sit down have some tea


In the entrance to the mosque in a dusty town

north of Jerusalem I heard the tongues

of my father’s father’s father and lowered my knees


Next to the hot strong tea always honey sweet saffron

and rose pastries on a delicate white plate

Josette Akresh-Gonzales is the author of Apocalypse on the Linoleum, forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review Press. Her work has been published in Atticus Review, JAMA, The Pinch, The Journal, Breakwater Review, PANK, and many other journals. A recent poem has been included in the anthology Choice Words (Haymarket, 2020). She co-founded the journal Clarion and was its editor for two years. Josette lives in the Boston area with her husband and two boys and rides her bike to work at a nonprofit medical publisher. | @vivakresh.



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