Things I’ve Learned
There’s a softness to the edges
of me—I am both the blood and the gauze,
break and the re-setting.
I watch as I cause and close
your wounds with frantic fingers,
I reach for you
A Mouthful of Blood
I’m walking in the late afternoon, feeling
the tall grasses brush my thighs. Stained violet
with snapdragons, the hills remind me of the day
you got drunk, fell, and bit your lip–almost clean through.
The blood pooled, deep purple spreading into the corners
of your mouth and I took you home, dusted off
a bottle of cheap rum—to numb your mouth,
to warm our throats. Tonight, I bend down to feel
the snapdragon mouths open and close under the pressure
of my fingers, and the taste of iron floods my tongue.
I had seen birth and death but had thought
they were different.
We side-stepped peaches half-buried in dirt
while you told me about the sparrows
that nested in your backyard last spring.
How one morning, you found one fallen,
its smallness outlined in your palm,
bones still malleable, matted in dark blood.
I stared at your hands twitching towards mine,
imagining tiny feathers falling from your fingertips,
while the smell of spoiled fruit filled the air.
Bay Area native Marissa Ahmadkhani is a poet. A Best of the Net nominee, she has writing published or forthcoming in Radar Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Southern Indiana Review, the Minnesota review, The West Review, The Journal, and poets.org, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2015 and 2017. Currently, teaches University of California, Irvine and serves as Assistant Editor for The West Review.