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Dina Greenberg


Artwork: Spine, Dina Greenberg


Ghusl


Soak soft cotton wool in warm water

scented with camphor and

leaves from the plum tree, turn

your beloved toward Mecca

to wash away rivers

of blood-thickened mud,

place over his lower parts

a clean white cloth. and

press a wad of cotton firmly

where each bullet entered.

Gently wash where the flesh has

burned from his face,

then the right arm

and then the left

wash the right hand, next the left,

make clean the torso

where the bruises go purple and ochre

like the late autumn harvest,

cleanse the abdomen

thighs and shins

the right foot only

for the left you could not salvage,

wash three or five or seven times

wrap your beloved in the clean white kafan

his mother stitched, release

your beloved from your embrace and

spill to the earth the sullied waters, release

your tears in praise and sorrow



About the Author: Nominated for The Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and The Millions, Dina Greenberg’s poetry, fiction, essays, and articles have appeared widely in literary journals, anthologies, and peer-reviewed journals, both in the U.S. and the U.K.

Ms. Greenberg earned a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction (MFA) degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she served as managing editor for the literary journal Chautauqua. She also holds a BA in English Literature and MA degree in Liberal Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Greenberg teaches creative writing through the Cameron Art Museum’s educational program and via online workshops. In addition, Ms. Greenberg provides one-on-one writing coaching for victims of trauma. Her work facilitating creative writing workshops for combat veterans and military families precipitated her recent novel Nermina’s Chance (Atmosphere Press). The novel earned the first place 2022 Firebird Award in literary fiction. She is now at work on an interview series with women of the Bosnian diaspora. Find more at https://dinagreenberg.com.


 


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.

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