Forgive Your Gods

Temple was the jade figurine
            around my neck lightly held by
thread the color
                        of lobster heart.
Worried like misbaha, the same love-
            against the pad of my thumb. Oh please let. Oh won’t.
Beirut from the balcony lies
                        spangled as some sugared fruit.
That citrus smell mantling my bed for days.

Requiem Aeternam dona eis for the men the ocean ate,
swaying on dark ships from the Levant
            to Rome.
                        Allah is pastoral in my hand, soft as flannel,                           
as the curl of grass across water.
            There are fires set in Gaza. Rage is the soup
that keeps some alive.

My aunt arrives tipsy and rapturous,
            speaking of love in my grandmother’s kitchen.
We light cigarettes, spoon black olives from the jar.
            She pours an inch of whiskey,
shows me her new earrings, a gift. I am wary:
                                                Silver turns green in sun.
That night, I lie watching
dawn beneath the curtains, flinching
            from the twinge in my abdomen as muscles stitch
and I bleed.

           Sunbirds leave feathers outside the bar’s entrance
and I find one on my boot.
Someone has been here with pen,
                      Forgive your gods

on the bar bathroom stall.

       Athena was cruel,
she kept men waiting with love elephantine.

I’m a Persephone girl,
                  all theater and staircase and sulky luck,
running through rain to arrive at his doorway
with sodden slippers
                       The movie was awful and I’m scared.