Yasmin Belkhyr is from NYC, but recently moved to Honeydew, South Africa. She has
been published in Verse Daily, PANK, Word Riot, B O D Y, and Hobart, among others.
She is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Winter Tangerine Review (wintertangerine.com).
Find more of her work at yasminbelkhyr.com.
So far, Ohio has given me ravens.
The children here tear out their own
wisdom teeth, turn over ridged
enamel, thrilled by the ruins,
the Rome, that was their bodies.
A flashlight, burnt out. Empty almond
butter jars and the layers of a tooth.
Jenny's mother took us camping once.
We cut our fingers on metal shavings,
ripped the claws off lakeside crabs.
The dirt was soft and wet beneath
the tarp of our tent. I can only speak for myself.
It was lighter then, the sky pink and yellow
like an old bruise, ribboning over.
We drank lemonade out of tin cans,
thought ourselves women.
Rites of Passage
Wax and butter on our hands. Knife handles jutting from our thighs. The sky, moonshine yellow. The widow's home smells of bread but all of it is burnt. The pond distorting our faces in a way that made girls into women, boys into threats. We stared into the water, a Rorschach test, struggling to find something more than darkness. One morning, sky drenched in clouds and we could see to the bottom: found softball gloves, broken umbrellas, our blind fathers, a wheelchair, two hundred moths. Birds that look like doves but are not doves. At the surface, the town watched their daughters drown, mouths open to water in a way even we didn't understand.
Bonnie and Clyde
After Eduardo C Corral
I miss people longer than normal. My mother looks
down at me with pursed lips, says honey do you want
to come out of bed today? I think soft things: a girl,
mouth pressed against metal teeth. A boy, a wrecked
car, highway streaked like light. A woman and a man
in a floral hotel room, pinkbruises. I miss you
longer than normal. It's hard to write a love poem that isn't a lie.
I'm not doing so well. A robber in a ski mask shot a man
in a deli, headlines say. I know how that felt, soft thoughts:
shoving Hershey bars and Bic lighters into a yellow pillow case,
ears ringing, fingersbruised, dying noises
coming from behind the counter, love like a pockmark.
A man, a wrecked car, highway streaked with sugar.
Dried rabbit ears, burnt palms, hoarse Hail Mary's.
Lips like broken eggs, a kiss like yolk. Fawn throats,
wet with blood, the sky littered with glass. City lights
like the mouth of a river. Something
You used to pluck flowers from my teeth.
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