Culture: poetry, prose, review

Eat Me

and other selected works

by Najia Khaled

eat me
I could swoon
for forgetting you,

for all the letting-go
I’ve been doing,

for all the memories I’m
spilling from my fist

careless as regret,

jumbled as trail mix.
fool’s gold
an early September afternoon
and summer's drunk down
to the dregs,
golden and lukewarm.

this is the first year in six
that I've allowed myself
a sip, then several long swallows
of daylight,

my skin darkening until it seems
I have a facsimile of sun
in each pore.

it is not yet too cool
for a fine sheen of sweat
to gather on my arms.

in the shifting light of the season
they glitter like pyrite.
(first published in Wanderers, Witch-Talkers)
 I sit on the edge
of my tub and I
at the dirt on my soles
from an afternoon spent
in the garden,
rubbing away with
patient fingers
until I reveal
that tender holy boundary
of softest
under the gentle
of the soil,
under the gentle
of my skin
and I half-fancy myself
a sort of
modern Īsā,
a woman bent over
between the tap
and the drain
and washing her own feet,
a haiku for every person I’ve kissed
I. I think I loved you
for a little while; or, at
least, I wanted to.
II. you were the first girl
I ever kissed and, for a
time, I felt perfect.
III. it was midnight. I
wanted you to notice me,
notice everything.
IV. I was lonely, and
you were there, but you weren’t her.
I don’t even know.
V. I let things go too
quickly and much, much too far.
I went home and cried.
VI. it may have been too
soon, but I saw you as a
cure for, well, something.
VII. I want this to work.
you make me wish that I could
just be sane for you.
VIII. it was easier
to say nothing at all than
it was to say “no”
IX. je n’arrête pas de
te vouloir pour un instant,
mon cœur, my heart.