mara once took this road & her car broke down in the middle of a night / like tonight / but i don't care, i take the road too / fast because i'm lonely / & unloved / in the worst of ways / the one where the right person loves / me / in the wrong way / & to even say it / tastes like pennies / a useless coin i'm told / carries value still / similar to how i brake for every deer staring moon-eyed on the street side / even when i know they'll run / & yet / many don't / not until i slow down / & our stupid moons collide / the way, like a miracle, nothing collided with mara / as she walked down this road that night / the eye in the sky blinking / in a way we call new / no streetlights & so no shadow / the most alone one body can be without / another beside it / & every one of those deer appear in twos / even if they leave in a different way / scattering like fingers from a fist / when my headlights strike them / escaping together/ alone into the dark / I love you / i would tell the deer if only they would slow to hear it / & i would ask them In what way / do you love me? / but of course / in no way could anything so fearful love me / in a way i might feel / loved / a spark flirting with the ocean before returning to its bonfire / & mara must have been so cold when she walked / for miles before finding / another miracle / another car / yours perhaps / & a second car behind it to keep her safe from the first / maybe mine / & i would have never thought of that / that what drove the first car might be more dangerous/ than the dark / where despite/ what we've been told /nothing waits / or wants / you / back
Someday I'll Love Jaz Sufi
after Ocean Vuong
& it's so hard, you know?
Because I am so full of love, & none of it for me.
I am so full of water. I am a river. I go to the river, &love drains through my open hands.
They are so useful, my hands. They are the open doors, they open doors, they lock me behind them
& no one else can come inside. I convince myself the key is hidden under someone else's tongue,
I go looking for the wrong tongues, I fit wrong
in my own mouth when I'm a skeleton inside someone else's bones, I go looking to fix everyone but myself—
here is a list of therapists. Here is a glass of water.
I am so thirsty I look in the mirror & become a pillar of salt, I am my own wife before I am myself,
I leave the porch light on, I wait for someone to come home, & for this & other reasons,
I've called myself broken. I've called myself empty, I've called myself things I would never name a child.
This time, I sing the knife to sleep, the knife I mistook for a mirror, or an open door,
but I can cast a shadow without having to live
inside it. I illuminate my own bones, fill them back full of marrow. I ritual the blood back into my veins & it sings,
but this isn't a prayer song, no "praise" or "amen." Any church here I built myself, with my hands, my hands the stained glass & the stone,
my name in a good book made better by my name, my blood & body that will save no one but myself.
I resurrect myself.
I forgive myself for the coffin I thought I would be
in by now: the coffin I mistook for a mirror or an open door to somewhere better than here,
I am better than here. I am here, better.
Someday, I will love Jaz Sufi. I am learning how to do it better every day —
here is a list of my golden bones. Here is a glass of water.
I can drink without drowning. I don't dissolve on anyone's tongue. I say my own name
& a lock unlocks, a door opens, my mouth fills
JAZ SUFI (she/hers) is a mixed race Iranian-American poet and arts educator. Her work has been published or is upcoming in AGNI, PANK, Birdfeast, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She is a Kundiman fellow and National Poetry Slam finalist, winner of the 2020 Yellowwood Poetry Prize, and is currently an MFA candidate and Goldwater fellow at New York University.