When I tell it, the first time I saw hail,
I tell him it was in a desert, knocked

a man getting out of his car unconscious
then drove a woman into my arms

because she thought the end was near,
but I assured her it wasn’t so.

When he tells it, the first winter
after their hijrah was the coldest. Rare snow

came down, and his mother,
who knew what the fluff was

but until then had never seen it,
woke him and said, look outside, what do you see?

She called his name twice. He rubbed his eyes,
didn’t reply. She said, this is flour from heaven.

When he tells it, he’s an old man smiling
back to his mother.


Fady Joudah, "Syzygy" from Tethered to Stars. Copyright © 2021 by Fady Joudah. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Milkweed Editions, www.milkweed.org.