POETRY FINALIST:
Torch Song (Threaded Ghazal 2)

I lose my place in the sound
A splendid, fleeting trace in the sound

A waterlogged Norton Anthology
You are the onion-skin pages on me

Why are you so far away, she said. And won’t you ever know that I’m in love with you, that I’m in love with you?

Our mothers, child psychiatrists of sound
Yours ground her cigarette in a coffee plant.
Mine said, “Wear more hats. More dates!”

Just to sit behind you in 8th period
Just to watch your hands on the page

Cut up the voices and sliver
for a slower pace in the sound

A real ache, I swear. Ache.
Scoop me up, like the book
oh, please.

“My father fasted only six times in his life. Five times for each of his daughter’s weddings. The sixth time, when Gandhiji died.”

That the beloved, dark and brooding
That the love, unspoken
not of the body but of the book left open

Hands like your hands—
such unsettling grace in the sound

To be invisible
Turn to page 365
To be seen

Scarred hand from wrist to knuckle
Hand through wall. Waste in the sound

Mash-pash, reverence, yen
What wallflowers do.
Sit longing. Sit still. Sit.

 

Please, please, please, let me, let me, let me, let me get what I want, this time.

that he loved Cindi, then Shannon, then Jenny, then

“My mother married my father when he was eleven and she was nine. But she did not go and live with him until she was twelve or so.”

Before the taste of tongue
Became as common as spitting
couplets into metal boxes. Imagine the time before.

Your affection, those elusive threads
Chaste in sound

The ping pong pang of it. Not the kind
to think, just thought,
your hands

                                                                                               Try as she may to stay with you
Tanu sees another face in the sound

                  “My mother collapsed into my father’s arms. She actually died like that.”

 

 

 

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