Lananh Chu

after Palestinian poets, who teach me how to live and write.
for Palestinians, who teach me how to live and write.

Mourning martyred moons
after Mahmoud Darwish, Etel Adnan, and Noor Hindi

Funeral carriages enter this poem.
Clouds must’ve carried your rivers into my eyes.
I try to trace the contour of the ocean
too vast
but you don’t have enough water.
I pray for you for the sea. Sand in my throat.
I pray for olive trees, for horses and donkeys, for pigeons and cats,
for children like kittens.

The rockfall killed Jesus. Madonna’s riven belly.
The Bible bleeds.

Killers hide martyrs under smoke for the sun not to witness.
Cries inundated under explosions for the sun to be deafened.
The sun bleeds.

They exterminate thousands of moons, petite moons, green moons, premature moons, in-mother’s-arms moons, turning-on-bed moons, in-the-hospital moons, buying-breads moons, at-school moons, praying-in-the-mosque moons, broadcasting moons, cooking moons, birthday moons, new year moons, pink-ribbons moons, sleeping moons, soundly, playing moons, next to a bombshell, croissant-eating moons, unfinished, singing moons, kissing moons, unfinished, shriveling moons, thirsty moons, hungry moons, fatigued moons, detained moons, darling moons, moon souls.

They love poetry of the moon and flowers.
They kill the moon and burn flowers.
They want to own the moon buy the stars.
Palestinians own the wounds the scars.

Funeral carriages enter my prayer.
How can we trace the contour of moonlight?
Hundreds of oceanic nights.

Clouds must’ve carried your rivers,
though the ocean is vast, the winds travel.
Winds are billowing into your breath.



Lananh Chu is a Vietnamese writer and maker. She/they is calling for a ceasefire and unwaveringly supporting the Palestinian liberation. Her poems appear in PR&TA, Asian American Writers Workshop, and AJAR Press, among others.