Quoting the Bible

Luisa Muradyan

Tonight I'm thinking about Jesuswhich isn't remarkablefor most people on Christmasbut it is for me.Which means that I'm reallythinking about the lightfrom Seamus Heaney's phonewhen he texted his wifedon't be afraid seconds beforehe left his body behind. Don't be afraid,I tell my son as Ibuckle his seatbelt, don't be afraidI place a green dinosaurmask on his face,don't be afraid, I sprayhis toddler hands withdisinfectant don't be afraidI hold him closeand walk away fromother mothers singingtheir own version ofdon't be afraidI say it so oftenI wonder if my sonthinks the wordsare a seriesof sounds I humwhen I'm around himto get through the daymore comfortthan language, moreshape than mouth,more memory than body,more mother than person.

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Luisa Muradyan is the author of American Radiance (University of Nebraska Press), which won the 2017 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Muradyan holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston and is also a member of the Cheburashka Collective, a group of women and non- binary writers from the former Soviet Union. Previous poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Colorado Review, Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, the Missouri Review, and Pleiades among others.

cover of Threepenny Review issue 167

Issue 167 Fall 2021

Berkeley, California

Editor and Publisher
Wendy Lesser

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