If the body is indeed composed
of mud and fossil, rib cage woven
of branches clipped from tired acacia.
If the moon pulls back from its seat
as planned. If comets pour into one
another like coffee from a carafe
and the calendar becomes either all-dark
or all-light. If we bury the date pit in soil
and trust nothing to happen.
If the plane lands on time. If the visas come.
If our fasting is found not worthy,
but a lamb dies, nonetheless.
If the fig tree disintegrates before our eyes.
If the breeze brings with it pause.
If the ground quakes like a train
between the ears. If the sea shudders.
If honey ginger, cardamom green.
If the rumored map spreads like sumac.
If Bedouin mint steeps in the glass cup
and water turns an amber. If the dust
of plucked leaves settles on fingertips.
If our border crossing is seamless:
license plate switched to an alternative nation,
answers rehearsed on the lips.
If the road reveals itself. If our eyes meet.
Then tomorrow and the next day, yes.
Tara Ballard is from Alaska. She is the author of House of the Night Watch (New Rivers Press), winner of the 2016 Many Voices Project. Her poems have been published in Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry Northwest, The Southampton Review, The Adirondack Review, and elsewhere. Her work received a 2019 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize.