Volume One, Issue 2

Rania Zada

What you desire doesn’t lie but hides
between the thighs of your trouble, as your trouble
squeezes boa constrictor style squeezes to your desire.
You’ve a mind to open the windows—
every window—
and let out the dead souls of your letdowns,
while your wishes rap on window glass with beaks,
some kind of morse code for let me the fuck in.

Let’s have a group seance
See if we can bring back the dead souls of your dreams,
your lost dreams,
let’s channel them through a man too grief stricken to speak,
too stricken to understand what’s going on with you.

And really, what is going on with you?
Your bare-boned desire licked clean by blind sight,
the fraction of a fingernail scratching
at the plain wooden doors of your heart.
No matter your sunrise,
your twilights,
dark dawns and rainy moods.
No matter your love and its boundless topography,
The vast desert of it as it seethes impossible flood.
You love and love
and as you do,
volcanic ash coats villages,
Chokes inhabitants.
And you
are a prayer that turns to smoke.
You rise from your own ashes into
This phoenix dawn
Drawn from a self you'd give anything to forget.
You take your bones & ancestry to the desert,
shake them out of an old bag,
shake out the hoodoo of your forgotten past,
let it talk to you in tongues,
even though those tongues’ve been cut
out of the mouth of a 100 Cassandras,
always ready to prophetize doom & demise.

You’ve sworn and stood on the grave of your grandmother,
you’ve gathered her graveyard dust
into a little glass jar that you put in your purse, the mantel, your nightstand.
And when things got too bad & too hard,
you unscrewed the top off her and rubbed her dust onto your heart,
and prayed for protection.
And it worked, but cut you off further,
kept you out of love’s way while it kept you out of harm’s way.

Who are you.
You & your glasses of water
poured by silent ghosts doing magic tricks
trying to convince you that they really do exist.
Who are you.
When You wear your desire and it wears you back,
Wears you out.
It’s made of the skin of your hopes and dreams,
and a few drops of mother’s milk.
It’s made of the raw silk of your rage,
made of unseen smiles in dark, dark rooms,
of sharp crumbs littering your softest bedsheets.
Who are you.
When the lights are out,
what are you holding, and is it holding you back?
Or is it holding you back?

Rania Zada is a first-generation Egyptian-American poet and memoirist.

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