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Poems

I HAVE A SWOLLEN TONGUE (2018)

I have a swollen tongue

sitting in my mouth like a chicken heart

When I move, tiny, through the street

I can taste its iron and fat

At the doctor, on the scale:

"Who said you were tiny, you big beached whale?"

"It's my tongue! It's my tongue!

My great pink balloon

dragging the rest of me--

I'm its human spittoon!"

GOD POEM (2018)

if my belly carried a sun

and I could pour light liquid

over shoulders, giants, and prawns,

if I was pregnant

with water and color,

and I’d learned beyond like my mother and father

if I didn’t wash rot down the drain

because rot was me and spring was me too—

Me? I was every peony

Blooming delicate and fat at its grave

I was every time you asked after “wanting” and why you had it so bad,

I was your visions—you know the ones!

I was God, I was God,

I was God and I was mica,

I was mica in the sun.

THE MARK; MY VISIONS (2018)

I’m washing the last salt off my body

because a great honor has begun to fray.

Unraveling like Kofi’s pasta,

The colors of my special mark grow layman.

So, I’ve lost my eye-helpers again!

ON GROWING OLDER THAN I WAS BEFORE (2017)

A note to my younger self, who is sleeping

I'd give you kisses in the softs of your elbows

You'll grow purples and grays in places you don't like

Like mud but on our insides

Should I tell you about the little deaths and big deaths?

Like the way you're afraid to leave a place

Like the way he held you when you were young

And then again when you were older, that time harder

I'm sorry if I'm never the best--magic--

at the things I love the most

I'm sorry I don't dance for other people like you do;

like I used to

I feel afraid again--It came so soon

Will you show me how you pray? 

I'll give you kisses in the softs of your elbows

You'll tell me what you always do: 

it will happen! It will all happen!

SALHIYEH (2017)

If I never go back

bury me with an olive on my tongue

wet with oil

and spicy,

a gift from our landlord in Salhiyeh.

(Yes, she gave it to me

with her leathery hands)

If I never go back

wrap me

Flamboyantly

in gardenia

one for each hole in my nose,

white like the snow that never came

so that I can

so that I can