a plate becomes
by noor ibn najam
a mirror. the opposite of feeding. a mother
and i wasn’t. i remember love
before blood, a list
of threats and understandings.
i’ve seen men die
i know the stakes. told myself otherwise
before, that’s why i settled, a nice girl, a nice
house, that’s what he called me. these
days i’m a woman
or something. when i sing
one note at a time, i swear i
feel him pluck
hair from the back of my
neck to burn. if the dead can be cursed
then i curse him. i curse him. i can’t tell
what nighttime does to me now, how dreams keep me
busy, since he won’t. i’m not a good
cook. on his own he was a suit
of clothes with nothing in it, never
drove, he was driven. hardworking,
no. he was worse than a worm.
now he’s food. alone in the kitchen
sleeping through the day
the dark like a
green mirror wings, i’m singing. picking
my skin. every night, disgusted
i pinch my nose, swallow
whatever this is that i’ve made.
noor is an experimental poet. she's received fellowships from Callaloo and The Watering Hole and is a recent resident of the Vermont Studio Center. her poems have been published and anthologized with DIAGRAM, ANMLY, The Academy of American Poets, The Rumpus, Bettering American Poetry, and others. her chapbook, PRAISE TO LESSER GODS OF LOVE, was published by Glass Poetry Press in 2019.