Bookmarked Page: Save Up For This!!!!!! & Dry Skin

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?  


Dry Skin

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: