What goes extinct while grazing on memory’s lawn in the sun?
When you said, “I’d cut my tongue,” I grew a callus over your mouth.
Once, I tiptoed to catch a glimpse of you though I was not yours,
but there was recognition through the window, my eyes knocking
on cleansed glass, as I closed further into sleep, into preludes,
away from you. Why am I speaking at all when what’s unsaid
between us is a rosette of moth wings, beating in the sky’s eardrum.
I don’t flock to passions when I seek you; if all was taken, who would you be?
Still, I know what I sensed as I watched you swim out from under the bridge
trying to sip the Pacific. If it wasn’t for the undercurrent, I’d have let
you go further, but the hour was a cool blue cluttered with your lips.
There’s a story you know: it begins with your right hand over mine,
as I practice my handwriting: I lay my alephs here, like ripe fruit, like a home away.
Copyright © 2022 by Deema K. Shehabi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 25, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.