Ache in Fourth Degree
We’re in my bedroom & you have a pack of cards.
You show me a king with diamonds bruised black
& I remember. Later, I’ll be told this was how I said yes.
The windows were shucked out clean & the moon gave
nothing but drizzling teeth. My hands were smudged, mouth
of a minnow but you don’t say anything. The forest is dripping
thunder & we are in my bedroom. Downstairs, nothing plays.
A clawing at the door, a clawing at the mirror frame. The king
wrenches the red off his face & later, I’ll be told this was a grape
half-dried, a bloodless cherry sucked from its stem. Later, wasp
blood smeared on my thighs, chewed teeth until the doors close.
I’m not waiting for the ax anymore. Now, thrummed fingers, velvet
tongue, hips of an elegy, knees the color of a hive smashed open.
At tea, our fathers crack almonds, look at our faces, but not our
by Yasmin Belkhyr
Yasmin writes. Her poetry has been/will be in PANK, Waxwing, Hobart, decomP, and on Verse Daily. Her work has also been showcased at MOMA P.S 1, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the U.S Hall of Nations. Yasmin runs Winter Tangerine Review and works on being a better person. Send her letters of love, hate and indifference at yasminbelkhyr.com.