Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of Malak and Paper, Cotton, Leather. Recent poetry appears in Cream City Review, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review, and Hotel Amerika. Recent prose appears in Fourteen Hills and The Collagist. She is co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly and Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.
all poems from Malak (Platypus Press, 2017)
When I’m Just Dead
I’ll send a fox to my daughter. It will nest in her hair,
my heaviest sleeping girl—largest heart outside my body.
She will shove it aside, look for me in a tin box
of necklaces I circled her with when she was a cricket.
She’ll drink water from a bottle too tight at the lip.
She’ll draw my face on the wall and tell it everything.
My ears ring when an airplane’s
in the next town.
Call it frequency. Call it
magic. Invisible headphones
with singing bells.
Should I push my wings
out too? Carry the crying
babies behind my teeth?
It’s true that Malak’s a white plane
on a white cloud, reading
at winking rivers,
waiting for me to turn
gold, gold, gold, gold.
I stood for it, and the plaster felt
like the raw egg we wore on our tight,
tight pores. (We slipped the yellows,
full suns, down the sink.)
He demolded me after I read him
his hand. I said, pick one, from the pile
of parts. He pulled my other head, blank.
My other body, an empty piñata,
held up a wall. His hand over that
mouth means nothing.