Red Ghazal

By Aimee Nezhukumatathil Aimee Nezhukumatathil

I’ve noticed after a few sips of tea, the tip of her tongue, thin and red
with heat, quickens when she describes her cuts and bruises—deep violets and red.
 
The little girl I baby-sit, hair orange and wild, sits splayed and upside down
on a couch, insists her giant book of dinosaurs is the only one she’ll ever read.
 
The night before I left him, I could not sleep, my eyes fixed on the freckles
of his shoulder, the glow of the clock, my chest heavy with dread.
 
Scientists say they’ll force a rabbit to a bird, a jellyfish with a snake, even
though the pairs clearly do not mix. Some things are not meant to be bred.
 
I almost forgot the weight of a man sitting beside me in bed sheets crumpled
around our waists, both of us with magazines, laughing at the thing he just read.
 
He was so charming—pointed out planets, ghost galaxies, an ellipsis
of ants on the wall. And when he kissed me goodnight, my neck reddened.
 
I’m terrible at cards. Friends huddle in for Euchre, Hearts—beg me to play
with them. When it’s obvious I can clearly win with a black card, I select a red.
 
I throw away my half-finished letters to him in my tiny pink wastebasket, but
my aim is no good. The floor is scattered with fire hazards, declarations unread.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "Red Ghazal" from Miracle Fruit. Copyright © 2003 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil.  Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.

Source: Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003)

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Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Subjects Living, Separation & Divorce, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Relationships, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Ghazal

 Aimee  Nezhukumatathil

Biography

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of Miracle Fruit (2003), winner of the ForeWord Magazine Poetry Book of the Year and the Global Filipino Literary Award; At the Drive-In Volcano (2007), winner of the Balcones Prize; and Lucky Fish (2011). Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, FIELD, and American Poetry Review. Her honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Separation & Divorce, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Relationships, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Ghazal

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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