Blistered apple,
gold that molts

the eye & boils
animals in their caves.

I touch & touch

          & touch,

branding the hands
of each child.

A circle
of unmoored fury.

I see death all
around you—

          your phantomed self
          charred blue,

          cast against
          asphalt.

The body’s ash already
visible,

          unglittering
          in its cheap velvet.

Bow down
in the brilliance

          of your borrowed light.

Let me ignite
your end.

More by Hadara Bar-Nadav

Lullaby (with Exit Sign)

I slept with all four hooves
                       in the air or I slept like a snail

            in my broken shell.

The periphery of the world
                       dissolved. A giant exit sign

            blinking above my head.

My family sings
                       its death march.

            They are the size of the moon.

No, they are the size
                       of thumbtacks punched

            through the sky’s eyelid.

What beauty, what bruise.

                       What strange lullaby is this
            that sings from its wound?)

Here, my dead father knocks

                       on a little paper door. Here,
            my family knocks, waits.

Come through me, my darlings,

                       whatever you are: flame,
            lampshade, soap.

Leave your shattered shadows

                       behind. I’ll be the doorway
            that watches you go.

Thumb

Who means what it is to be human
and is scarred by childhood.

Thick and neckless. Your head shaped
like a gravestone.

A smile opens across the knuckle and disappears
every time you lift a tumbler of scotch.

Who holds a pen and lies.

Who holds a chopstick
in the language of still-twitching fish.

When you think of the past you form a fist
until a heart beats.

Once removed by a chisel. Then reattached.

You stiffen in the rain and dream
of pudding—a smooth, boneless lake.

Who butters morning toast
while wearing a butter hat.

Who fingers the ad for beef, grows numb
while talking to a girl on the phone.

Useless while typing. Useless
tool who only worships space.

A stump. A blackened stamp.
Your own private map of loneliness.

Who always leans to one side. Detached.
Distant from all others.

Dress (Aurora Borealis)

     —Ambreen Riasat was a victim of an honor killing on April 29, 2016. Thirteen people, including some of her family members, were arrested in connection to her murder.
 

See me for miles—

          lightstreaked,
          deathstreaked.

A disturbance.
(I am disturbed.)

          Theatrical
          and skinless.

          Electrical, all
          edge. 
          
A knife of ice
carving the sky.

White blades, 
white fathom,

          unbridled.

White that is red
is pink is hue

          is glazed enormity,
          tangerine plush.

And then comes
the blood,

          scarlets on fire.

Why is a girl always
on fire.

What makes her
crackle—

          breathtaking,
          the cut wrist,

          thighs rushed
          by smoke,
                                                                                                                                                       
          roil of voile,
          combustible.

So I loved, laid, slept
for days, blinked,

breathed flame,
paraded like a god.

Gianter than god
and vincible.

          Made of nothing at all.
                                           
          Fleshless,
          a fuse of refusals.

And am I beautiful
now, who owns beauty,

waiting for your tongues
to slip by.