Gingerbread House Lit Mag


My nails climbed out of bed one by one, as if each arc
wished to be dead elsewhere, no longer a bright crown

for the skull of my fingers when I stopped eating, and
when I licked sugar granules only, they carved secret

holes in molars, and threads of hair squirmed out
of their nests when no one kept them hydrated, and

spots flowered quickly below my skin like ink on fabric
when I chewed a mouthful of fear for breakfast, and

the soot I inhaled daily on a stale platform, suctioned
by choking pores across my face, responded with a homely

vengeance, and collagenous cords in each knee set fire
to their own cables when I was not gentle with them, and

nerves compressed all day over keyboards unleashed
a surging ache in the crook of my wrist, and each shoulder hill

erupted with inflammation when I fell asleep inside
a thousand salted sunflower seeds, and I know this is how

she responds when I give her too much or too little of a thing;
to desecrate the chapel of my presence is a grave sin

never pardoned, so when she stacks all that tissue thick
in a full stretch of muscle, I know I will pay for it when I ignore

that two-day window, spending it once again and again
in the quarantine for untouched souls; to then fill

that ready basin with a handful of empty is to render
her efforts useless, and this vessel full of pride does not stand

for the shame of my vacuum; sometimes in the shower
I must pause, bend to the side, capsize from the spiteful

rush of a cracking pain, crouched in the tub, I hear
the violent rips and tears screaming from inside; the hurt

of vacant arms and the savage splitting of what is left
is not enough suffering, which is why she does this,

ejects the galaxy she once built, shows me just how red
a hell can be, makes me watch my own pieces fall out of me;

swirling in the drain, I know that a female body does not
forgive, if I do not strive month after month to multiply.

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad was born and raised in New York.  Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Pinch Journal, and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge and Painted Bride Quarterly. She is the poetry editor for Noble / Gas Qtrly, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. She currently lives in New York and practices matrimonial law.

Artwork: Lara Zankoul

This entry was published on December 19, 2016 at 12:03 am and is filed under 22 (December 2016), Archive, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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