Sunday, December 22, 2013

dream sequence (ii)

last night in between the hours of moonlight and birdsong,
i rested my soul in the space between your smile and your cheek.
curled my entire body right into it,
fit like a dream.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Parting prayer

Your lips part like cemetery gates;
I hesitate,
bow my head and whisper prayers
for every soul that has pressed against your mouth
and left, breathing.

I want to step inside,
bury myself under an evergreen,
feed you for a century
or more.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lovesong of a Curandera

The lovesong of a curandera
drips like nectar from her lips.
I want to kiss her on the mouth
that sings my soul to peace,
licks my wounds, and
heals the rifts in my psyche.
I want to take her hands
and place them around my heart,
beg her to sculpt and stitch it
whole again.
Sometimes all she does is listen,
watches my tears
and says
Look, mija. The ocean comes for you.
It takes the pebbles under your feet
and rolls them smooth
for you
to pick the prettiest and wear around your neck
or to throw back into the blue.
Espéra, strange and beautiful one.
and that will be all the hope I need
to breathe a little deeper,
throw open my soul
and dream again.


With love, to my curanderas and curanderos. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013


A colorful life,
a brilliant spiral downward. 
They fall like kings.
Like leaves off a tree.

We sat side by side
looking straight ahead,
my arm around my father's shoulders,
my other hand in my mother's. 
I thought, this is my family,
silent and distant,
wound tightly together by blood and time.

My grandfather was laid to rest across the sea.
The last patriarch.
Headmaster Mostafa.
The village elder.
He sat down and never stood up,
mid-prayer, late eighties. 
Lived through three nations on the same land,
died a Bangladeshi man.
He would ask me to speak to him in English,
but I never knew what to say.
I didn't much know what to say in my broken Bangla either.
Language, a generation, an ocean between us.
I wanted to say I love you, Dada
but I knew the words would echo strangely,
Family love is felt, seldom spoken.
For my grandfather,
it was in the way he let me sit by him
and laughed
as I braided his long beard.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dream Sequence (i)

I dreamt I tore all my hair out,
then stretched myself limb from limb
until my arms circled the world
and I still couldn't reach you.
I wove you a cloak,
adorned it with my teeth and bones,
wished it would protect you.
I even left you my skin,
thin as these pages, and
took only my inheritance in a ribbed chest full of sea glass
(before it met the sea).
In the nighttime I filled my lungs 
with saltwater and brine,
wore memories 
heavy in my pockets.

I am fine when I wake up because the moon is too bright
(and if you ignore the way the ocean follows its pull behind my eyes).

I lost my mind to the moon.
I lost myself to you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Suicide Hotline

Wednesdays, people tell me they
want to die.
all I want to say to them is,
you and I both.

Friday, March 1, 2013

We are all a little broken
but our heartstrings don't need tuning.
They trill and shine and echo
in our chambered chests,
rise and fall in purest melancholy,
sit still and wait patiently.
Sometimes in the silence of the outside
I can hear a collective drumbeat--
the wounded marching,
snapping our pieces back together.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

I am not a flower.

I am not a flower,
certainly not yours. 
No slender stem,
delicate leaves, 
or fragile femininity.
If you crush me,
I do not please
you with fragrant and honeyed verses.
I sting.
Like nettles and thorns,
like salt rubbed in a wound--
yo no soy una flor.
Como una tormenta de viento
I tear things limb from limb,
y cuando bailo en el cielo,
yo saco tu aliento,
and leave you floundering on the shore.

While I still soar.


My first attempt at Spanish poetry, dedicated to Sandra Cisneros. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

When you smile at me,
metaphors metamorph out of
thin air and the light that shines
from your tenderness;
and like tendrils they creep
up my spine, graze my ribs
and grow to the very ends of my limbs
to hang like soul-shaped fruit,
ambrosia on the poetree.
Your smile tastes like water on the parched lips
of a desert traveler,
like life,
cupped in strong but soft hands,
hands that make fists
to knock on doors,
then hold them open,
then hold themselves open
so that I may find comfort in them.

I haven't seen your smile in a long time.
Haven't felt that warmth like the breath in my body
and I'm staring to wonder if these chills
were of loneliness
and not ecstasy.

It's not easy for me
to sing these songs,
and not know
how long the silence
will echo when I'm done.

Eternity isn't even a whisper on my lips-
I only wait for my next heartbeat,
afraid its faint rhythm will fade completely.

Sense and logic betray me,
curl away like so much smoke
I use to choke the rising sound of war drums in my chest.
When I let go, the resulting wave
crashes through dam(n) and all debris
and I frantically try to
scoop gray matter free before
it scrambles into a beautiful delusion.

I am no stranger to insanity, or
its artistic qualities.
The way it paints dreams
into the daytime,
interrupting rational thought,
unapologetic as hunger.
The yearning and grieving
for imaginary feelings
never fades into the backdrop.
Small melodramas of the mind
play themselves out center-stage
of my 4-chamber opera house.
At performances' end, the atrium fills
with a bitter taste,
sharp and metallic like a knife's edge
that I hold between my teeth when I smile these days.

I gave the soft-edged ones away,
along with the better parts of my head.
I may have made you up in their stead.
Turned you from flesh to a
foolish girl's poetree.
Thought I'd cling to your idea like limbs
to a support a weak reality.

I grope at twisting vines
and when I open my eyes
I freefall,
pray that my roots
are strong
but soft enough
to catch me.

Nov./Dec. 2012