7.02 Grieving in Light

Nadra Mabrouk

Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!
—Edna St. Vincent Millay

The fever of the city carries an aching rain.
On the east side, everything is dramatic and fragile.
My mouth rarely opened in daylight. 
I had no answers here—listening for water, origin, white noise.

On this side, the east river is graying, everything fragile.
Your arrival was a light, then absence made it brighter.
I longed for answers—listened to water, myth, white noise.
Curled over sidewalks to find the missing, who chooses to leave.

Your arrival was drawn as light, then absence made it brighter.
The answers I longed for disappeared as myth, a cloud of white noise.
Curled over sidewalks to find the missing; you choose to leave
a fevered city, rain an ache you carry.


While watching the hypnotic video “mild strawberries,” the flashing colors reminded me of light fluttering violently. I thought of the summer, everyone dressed in pale pastels and creams, the long light-filled hours, and how I once described the daylight as “unbearable.” Light is a miraculous healer. But sometimes, it is unwelcome, glittering and lingering, making a mockery of your grief.
—Nadra Mabrouk


Nadra Mabrouk is a recipient of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize and author of Measurement of Holy, published as part of New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Saba) through Akashic Books and African Poetry Book Fund. She works as a content editor and teaches in New York City.