Poetry: Love Litany by Hajjar Baban

Hajjar Baban reveals in “Love Litany” a universal maternity—we all make babies out of our dreams one way or another. Our babies, who keep us up at night: as horror, as negotiator, as double, as hope, as center of all of our prayers. (Photo credit: Hajjar Baban)


Love Litany

O God! I think there might be
a whole horror in my mind.
a whole My baby’s disappointed
with death, my baby’s worried
about marriage, about a mother,
about another baby. My baby
can’t sleep at night y. My baby& tells
me after I ask about a dream. My baby’s
too muchask ablike my absence, my father never
once said Love & hatesabsencewhen I call him
a friend. O God! He watches from the ends
of my hair burned each time I hear
an ambulance drive by & my baby samples
the fire over the noise. My baby’s belly
my baby’s absent father, my baby’s day-
light terrors & all the sky’s secrecy
my baby’s surprised I Love Him but not
because he figured me incapable! O, God
isn’t that different? New to You,

I promised to be a consistent concentration
my movements stopped for this, I faced
the right direction, I isolated myself
for you, withdrew from people, I wore
nectar where my skin folds on itself.
How do you lie? Really, what do you
need if losing wasn’t enough of an ache
& you’ve been watching that my family
doesn’t cry enough.chingMy baby first

asked what I can handle, what danger
I choose to keep a world around me.
My baby doesn’t know where I’m from
& walks like he’s being watched. My baby’s
thoughts. My baby’s no nervous ticks
but shredding sugar packets when we have
the talk. My baby’s face never lifted for me
to know what falling looks like. My baby
can’t say. My baby’s giving shame a seat
in the room in between me & my father’s
history. My baby’s for real this time, pity
he waited because now I can hear the news
& not bother to grow a new grief yes, my baby
doesn’t need to prove that he can stay & knows
not to ask what I want because you were
in the room with me—O God! I said
in the rmy baby’s ache, this was my only
prayer for years til I learned a new





Hajjar Baban

Hajjar Baban is the author of the chapbooks Relative to Blood (Penmanship Books, 2018) and What I Know of the Mountains (Anhinga Press, 2019). A Pakistan-born Afghan Kurdish poet, she is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin - Madison through the First Wave Scholarship Program. Hajjar has work appearing in The Offing, Foundry, and Asian American Writers' Workshop, among others. She is a recent Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and Pushcart Prize nominee. She spends most of her time avoiding running from herself.

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