Bookmarked page: save up for this!!!!!!
By Kiana Borjian
Colors like lollipops
swimming in a plastic bowl
at Chase Bank – I am salivating
over these earrings: evil eyes
threaded atop geometric shapes. My protection
will be so public – ancestors swinging
below my ears, whispering affirmations
during my morning routine, ululating
in the Fast & Easy Mart.
They are so long
I can shift them between my teeth
like a silk road cowboy, which is ideal because
you are only truly safe when you are ugly.
There is no measure by which to choose
which vibrant ghosts I am trusting
to keep the evil at bay. The secure checkout
mutes their chatter. I can’t ask anyone
their opinion – unprotected, no one truly
can be happy for me,
purchasing something so stunning and elegant
I am bound
to be cursed.
Perhaps you don’t believe me
but did you know the word “glamour”
used to refer to magic –
as in a spell –
that could change your appearance?
By Kiana Borjian
Every night I practice
making my skin soft,
circling pomegranate-scented lotion
from my fingerprints to my dry calves.
Lotion bought in bulk, tiny
hot pink flowers gnawing
on the big beige bottle. What is softness
if not the melting and molding of plastic,
flesh bubbling into hollow shapes
you can fill with any number of things?
Dad says the war on terror is all for oil,
teaches me arm-strengthening exercises.
When he lost his father he found a new one in martial arts:
rows of men calf-deep in the cold of the Pacific ocean,
cutting through the air, angling their legs elegantly to swivel and kick.
Bones making promises, I’m not sure to whom.
I flaunt my bruises, dare the boys
to choreograph their forearms against mine. What is fun
if not a violence you can share?
The man asks where my family’s from
I demand Guess he says Iraq I say
Close. When he bends me over
I taste petroleum, and when
he strokes me my body turns
to a dead fruit tree.
Watching myself soften in the mirror
I wish so badly
to push someone who looks like me
into this dirt, see what it looks like: