All Together Now! Summer Reading at Johnson County Library is happening now through July 29.
I read about you
in my horoscopes and in a relatable tweet last week
as soon as I saw you, I knew those were written about you
When you asked me who I thought you were and I didn’t have an answer, I was worried. Why does my brain not instantly generate poetry when I think about how beautiful you are? Now that I have an answer I am terrified.
He’s got you stuck in his teeth.
Well, tell me:
Why’d you leave him and I alone in the blue tiled bathroom?
The one with the blood stained floors that we sat on for hours.
Well, tell me:
in orchards of lemon trees
we tiptoe, under the hanging yellow fruit
in blue moonlight, we will stay until
orange light leads us inside
My mother mourns leaving her own country so deeply it runs through her veins into mine. Bangladesh is what she knows and what she loves. She spends her time showing me her culture: spinning through dances, running through poetry, and wading through history.
The sound of the train past midnight
And a clear sort of light seek my room and cheeks
Leaving the layers of darkness, moon, and house light stale and stark
As if the lighter colored sheaths of air in the dark are unbreathable
Egg-yolks blooming in serenity
baba’s palms turn upwards
black dirt falling on the sun.
The fruit of baba’s hands
covered in spines
twisted but not the wicked way
that punctures skin.
Serpentine limbs extend in search of
hands to hold
sometime before the clock hit eleven,
i thought of you.
i imagined the threat your caressing fingers possess
as they trace targets on the side of my belly.
I envy the stories
Of the East
And the West.
Of bare feet,
Roasted fava beans.
Of tin water pails
That held curly-haired children
To keep the dust off their feet.
I’m sitting in the middle of nowhere, on a hill looking toward the horizon. No tripod, just crossed legs and my elbows resting on my knees, holding an old camera filled with darkroom film.
I miss running down the street with you at half past 3
When your dad dropped you off after softball practice on Sunday afternoons.
And there was never anything more than grass stains on white pants and empty soda cans that my mom told me to throw away two hours ago.
I can’t remember
why pink ice cream
smells of lakes
and trips to grandma’s house
I have no memory
of cherry chocolate chunk ice cream melting
in my mouth
I lick my fingers
just to make sure
I’ve gotten the last drops
You ask me If I know the way back home from here. I sing the words, “yes, dear” back to you like I’m someone else. You say “alright” because you’ve got nothing else to say right now; I respect that. I keep my eyes on the road. I’m not quite sure where you’re looking at this point
why do i allow myself to participate in something as dangerously stupid as Love?
allow myself to participate
as if i don’t
put myself up to bat
in a room full of automatic pitch machines
Wet hair clings to my cheeks
salty from the rain
Drops like tears slide down my nose
as the gray of the sky peers down upon me
Barefoot in the grass
for a few moments
I forget about the life I am crushing below
With my eyes closed
Giggling, Aditi grabs my hand and twirls me along as her ghagra’s elaborate mirror embroidery catches in colorful lighting.
It’s strung together through the fibers on the back of the lost
Dreams that leave you sweat-stained and hopeful
How dare we doubt ourselves?
In the midst of our mist and making, we think to miss?
But you need it, you said. I thought you wanted to be beautiful. I slammed my hands on the wheel of your Land Rover and pulled over to the side of the road near the big houses with green lawns and trampolines, Norfolk Way.
Maybe it was the wind that blew her to the ground.
Maybe a subtle hollow she hadn’t noticed brought her down.
Either way, she ends up in the dirt.
Earth covers the soft pink fabric draped over her
Like paint splattered on a porcelain canvas.
A ransacked village in India is where my lineage began
Women, I will
Can never, ever know.
Tribulations my western brain
They made me.
I have the blood of
Even when she was young, Sonya had never been afraid of the supernatural.
I am from
the expressions of my people
flattened nose and slits for eyes
leathery skin and cricks in my back
each feature of mine
a reflection of my family heritage