I am not entirely convinced that Roxane Gay is a single entity. I intend to find out at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, where she will sit for panels and interviews on both Saturday and Sunday, March 22 and 23
I wonder if I feel the grit between my canines melt like ice with salt on it.
When they saw the trees did they know they would love the desert just
the same. An expanse laid out, hills, not plains of green, not plain—no planes
hovering in between layers of sky. Even planes never flew that high.
Green or desert demystified. Did they know of the water underneath?
Are we they, propped up against green grass looking up at pines?
Do blue & brown eyes mix to green & gray?
Assonance in language: finding my teeth caked in the soil of land, tongue dressed in sand—
no common vowels between long a’s & o’s & u’s.
You look like you have just encountered a speck of dust in this breeze.
A Line of Poetry is House to Intend a Poem
To wake up to yellow pollen on the balcony
Not sprinkled red sand on a chair outside.
Lawn on the ground naturally
Trimmed—rolling around in it I skin
My knee, green blades running into
It sharp—Fadia asks, do you unroll your r’s?
A bullet in the desert is not unnatural
Neither is woman on Fadia’s body
Every day tenderly & night & in these ways
Forbidden, unlike bullets. I say,
Fadia, let me capture you not shoot
Not position you on the chaise or
The way the weight of
Odalisques on your hairline. I understand you
Also will not leave the horse alone in the house,
Rather stay regardless cautionary papers raining down
Sky plentiful. Our desert not red every day, it does
Grow irises & irrigate towns when dug down.
You say, Ishmael might take bullets unlost in sand
Finding his blue tanks’ way away—
Poetry is not Adornment, a Truth
Fadia, how I would like
An argument with you to go
To the soil & make it
Grow grapes. You make
Wine I make water to tell
Ishmael it is so
& as such. That it is not
Us. Such is a trope.
Let’s take ropes off
Necks, caress them instead.
Let’s show how with hands
You & I can pluck
Fruits & put them in bowls
To eat. At night we plant
A black iris on the windowsill
We watch it—
Why did you leave Horse alone?
This world horses keeping
Houses is not how you
Always return. & I, Fadia,
Will not leave till air decides
To drop sand into place.
Fadia, this world not ours is
What is told. I would hold a
Lemon tree shake it till
Young ones fall; you hold
Children & once at last
Tell them: how they are not
Stones. So are you not
Bone from sand.
Fadia, what is this if not
To sing. Who has been known
To mourn will do. In my hand,
Three olives squeezed into
Oil for your forehead, Fadia,
Not to anoint—& I hear
Horses coming along.
Siwar Masannat is Jordanian. She received a BS in pharmacy from Jordan University and an MFA in poetry from George Mason University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Journal, Gargoyle, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among others.4