It’s terrible what’s happening there
people say, if it comes up I’m Syrian
when my daughter mentions her “Sito”
or I’m microwaving my kibbe at work.
And it is. But I don’t need to tell you.
You’ve heard the numbers of the dead.
You’ve seen the mothers turned grey.
I never know what to say because I’m Syrian-
American, and I know only as much as you
of the city that bombs are skinning
down to concrete and bone, where children
are sleeping alone in the rubble, where Danhos
and Nourys and Imondis are still living
if they haven’t fled or been killed.
When my great-grandparents left Aleppo,
they carried their stories like gold
sewn inside clothes, but no one since
has pulled hard at the stitches. So
my horror is that of a woman who looks
at the sky and expects only blue—a luxury
my ancestors passed down to me.
Julie Danho’s chapbook, Six Portraits, won the 2013 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition. Her poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and Blackbird, among others. She was awarded a 2015 MacColl Johnson Fellowship as well as fellowships in poetry from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. In 2017, she was a runner-up in the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest. You can find more of her work at www.juliedanho.com.