So we clung to my father, pouncing when he bowed his forehead to the ground in prayer, not knowing he wasn’t pretending to be dogs like us, and we’d cower when he wouldn't say a word – we only understood we'd been bitten when he turned from us.
But when we couldn’t sleep, he’d spread blankets across his bedroom floor, the television tuned to some late-night shopping channel, and our dreams gemmed the static, a woman’s voice sparkling through the screen, my father’s quiet turning the minutes over.
Ruth Awad is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and her forthcoming debut collection Set to Music a Wildfire won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Missouri Review, CALYX, Diode, Rattle, Sixth Finch, Vinyl Poetry, Drunken Boat, and in the anthologies The Hundred Years' War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press, 2015), and Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). She won the 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest, and she was a finalist for the 2013 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship.