National Poetry Month Spotlight: Hala Alyan

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!
Today’s featured poet is Hala Alyan, whose collection Four Cities is due out from BLP in September.
For Lent
S, I dreamt we draped fairy lights around the Coliseum,
roping the tangled wires into snakelike piers. God
whispered from a wasp nest. You ate the candy
skull. Later, it was water rising in scarlet waves,
a shark speaking your name. Firewood or lace or rifle,
I house the timid of you in my mouth, seven languages
before steeple. Our passports are soaked, and ruined.
Budapest glows and snowflakes frame the false memory:
we swam in an ocean of pollen, yellow so thick it trembled
against our bodies. You tapped the gold from my hair.
Hala has chosen to introduce “Story in Which I Am Renamed Saint” by Anna Rose Welch.
She says: I stumbled upon this poem after a friend mentioned I might like the author. I felt shaken after reading it, by the images, the striking grief, the truth nestled in the lines.
PhotographHala’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including The Missouri ReviewColumbia Poetry Review and Prairie Schooner. Her first full-length poetry collection, Atrium, was published by Three Rooms Press and awarded the 2013 Arab American Book Award in Poetry. Her second collection, entitled Four Cities, is forthcoming by Black Lawrence Press later this year.