sad girl saturn return
i’ve lost my mind at swan after swan blooming
outside the window of the northeast regional. convinced myself
it meant i could control the sun and my menstrual cycle. but the mind
is not lost, it’s just replaced with meaning. the wasp burrowing into the fig
to lay her eggs. the brain an inverted flower waiting for pollination. we mistake
anything sweet for fruits. anything pretty for a miracle. blood is honey
and we hum ourselves to sleep about it *** then years later we’re like what
the fuck. that was crazy, i went crazy. one time a psychic said to me
do not be afraid to lose your mind, baby *** i’m afraid to lose a lot
of things because i’ve lost so much already, like my hair and various beads,
stones, tax forms, you, the will to 2 live laugh luv haha text it *** jk i lost cell signal
and you can lose my number *** i’m not mad at you i’m just really so bad
at texting back (and also i’m like dropping hints that i want you
to write me love letters.) i want you to write me love letters *** which before
the apocalypse, i would’ve expected this deep desire expressed to be my hubris but
turns out in america our love letters could save the u.s. postal system. one dollar for a stamp
another dollar to isr*el to bankroll the violent dispossession of indigenous palestinians
from their ancestral lands. he loves me he loves me not. that’s not romantic that’s a fact.
inevitable, but so is the fall of every empire. what’s romantic is the baby blue eyelid
of a mourning dove who doesn’t fly away when i lean close enough to identify
that its eyeball looks like a melting easter colored m&m i could just pluck
and pop right into my mouth. *** but i haven’t lost my mind again not yet. just
the meaning i once attached to these birds. or maybe not the meaning
but the excitement at the optimism of this meaning. actually, meanings are like birds
they roost then fly away after a season. next year they land somewhere else. closer
to the horizon of my awareness, a speck on the gradient atmosphere. an errant glitter fleck
on the left cheekbone— last night’s make-up alerting everyone in the dunkins
that i’m on a walk of no shame. the distant swan song still playing long after the swan
has died. like the light from a star which may or may not be dead. we are sadder
about stars than we are about birds even though every bird i’ve ever seen
before like three months ago is most likely dead. but still, something hatches
in my brain at the flutter of wings *** the avian connection to angels, to dinosaurs,
to prehistory and my chicken sandwich. *** meaning is the many winged henchman
of time. have i been repeating “meaning” too much ? no no. *** i have been invoking it.
there, fixed it. and now i’ve mentioned the poem inside the poem like a good little arab
who knows you’re always watching. this type of repetition and exposition: frowned upon
in mfa workshops. but mfa workshops are full of zionists and i am full of blood
and shit, which i hereby sever from the meaning of non-credibility, and tell it 2 you
objectively: i’ve finally started bleeding again. on the eclipse, actually, which
makes me nervous because i think we’re supposed to lay low and hydrate
on eclipses, and That’s IT. *** lest we fuck up our whole shit. if you’re related to me Stop Reading Here
no for real please stop i’m trying to be brave and honest in conversations around
my body. hot girl summer hot girl life yes i’m a year away from 30 and so far
have only merged with men on new moons, full moons, post tarot readings + joints—
most recently, an eclipse *** followed shortly by blood. i’m like jay-z on a loop
nervously watching the sky wishing on dead birds because i can’t see stars in boston.
except when i’m in jamaica pond staring at moonlit kneecaps i’d want to draw
but nothing else. so, too distracted to notice the stars unless they freckle skin
i’m too afraid to touch. when i described my first time to a friend, they said *** jess i think
you cast a spell on him, ha ha! *** no but say sike right now i secretly fear that perhaps
i did. you can’t accuse me of doing anything like that on purpose tho
because my purpose would never be anyone leaving. wow
i killed the vibe again. i lost the thread again i lost the love in lieu
of losing my mind. oh is that what the record-keeper meant?
oh so it was about love. whys everything about love
even when the house is on fire and we’re trapped inside.
the ocean i mean. the world i mean. my body i mean.
and me high up in my head looking down
at the scene. now he’s saying to me it’s okay, come
out, let go. you’re so hot.
Jess Rizkallah is a Lebanese-American writer and illustrator. Her book THE MAGIC MY BODY BECOMES was a finalist for The Believer Poetry Award and won the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize as awarded by the Radius of Arab-American Writers and University of Arkansas Press.