Fingers swirling like water to a sinkhole Halima touches the swell,
Whirlpools darkening at her navel,
As her husband
Takes his fill,
Syruping her fever,
Roping her hair into necklaces, knuckled glass, chuckling, a phantom
pain packing insanity and laughter and windows clear enough to look through. Pause that knock.
Ask if this is okay. If this is true.
If blood is red.
If fire can sear skin with no smoke.
She whispers a prayer into his pillow, sweating, swearing Her mother’s maiden name, losing to the cave he fills, Overturning seasons like leaves spinning in the wind. Men, she sighs, have become more
Fickle than sycamore seeds.
Smile for Me
my tracing paper.
Dot to dot,
moles to wrinkles.
This to that.
No Return Address
I read your letter this morning,
A flower blooming backwards,
Arching its spine to make a stem
So bold that bouquets stenched
This vase with traces of sewage.
In new apartments and get well soon cards.
I thought I’d see you soon enough,
Calender torn, fingers unchecked,
I could blow up time
For you to come home with flowers
But never in time
For you to come home at all.
Poison me to find your antidote,
Poison me to find the parts of yourself
That you broke inside of me
When you taught me to heal by hurting.
Silk words slung by an executioner,
A throat roped with pearls,
Glistening like wet pimple,
Sharper than the blade that cut it,
Sharper than the men who slit my lips.
Into a Barbie doll’s smile.
Sink your fingers into my spine,
Let the soil grow flowers around your wrists,
Take a spoonful of sugar,
Take a thread and wrap it
Around my throat
Tie a bow and send me to dance
The same dance my mother learned
From the uncles
Who paid visits at night when their wives
Slept downstairs in the kitchen,
The same kitchen
That drums between our thighs,
The same stove
That hums between our sighs,
How do you uncook meat,
How do you put seasoning back inside the bottle,
This is a lesson, this is the lesson
We did not ask to learn.