two poems

by Diya Abbas

The Farmer and the Flood

‘one-third of the country is underwater’

                 square sheets lay afloat
                                                                                                                       the moon floods on steroids
                                                        tops of roof heads
                                                        tops of chess pieces

god is our only witness
                                                                                                     earth tantrum
                                                                                  absent parents
                                                                                                                                                           baby country ‘47
a family floats on a metal disk

                 has always preferred the simple pleasures
                 a delicate summer

                                                    a swollen prayer rug
                                                            cows stuck in pits
                                                    dirty silverware
                                                            the system delicate
                                                    as mitti is clear

amerika pushes our heads underwater
sticks out his tongue and skits away

                                                                                                                      the river has made one with the town
                                                                                                                      there are no streets to run to

                 I am just asking you to listen

Dead Sea Dance for Sodom

the music drew
we come quick
                minor boltings
                               for her slow rumble
                               I dance poorly, refusing the prophet
                shucking god off my lip I mirror
the bodies, a clap
storm with her hot need in our heads.
                two white girls kiss
                               I do not mimic their safety.
first time I saw my other paki
                how miracle
                               she tells me her name
                the one that kept her secret/alive
the phosphorescent glow of distance
                between her feet and the ground
                               between her last name and knowing
                from the sky to the street
I won’t tell them
                no matter who comes to kill us
they know our moves
                like prophecy etched in stone
                               I know fear
                               as this dark curl
                down we pummel,
atmospheric pulling the sky
                                               towards us.
                               the click of the key lock
to the keeper of my heart I surrender
                her marvel lapping in my mouth
                               come in current
come in curse and wheel
                with enough reverb
                               enough leather rope
we outlast the makers of the rain.

Diya is a first generation Pakistani poet. They were named the 2022 George B. Hill Poetry Prize winner. Their work has been featured or forthcoming on The Offing, Illumination Journal, The American Library of Poetry, and Respire Mag. Diya is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin Madison through the First Wave program. More of their work can be found at