ISSUE  1   2   3   4   SUBMIT

Three Poems

Ashraf Osman

God is Not a Woman

They discuss forbiddens like bread,
an appetizer served cold.
They bow their covered heads,
their features morphing into designer patterns.
They write God on their roundabouts,
just another underwear billboard.
Thou shalt not lick bellybuttons
covered with hair.
Thou shalt adore me, adore me, adore me!

If I were a god, I’d be selfish, too.
Maybe next time I will be.
I will cover a woman with black and contempt,
as He would have wanted.
Oh brother, I will tell you why God is not a woman:
because He sleeps alone.


               Remember when
you used to try to seduce me
               and then you found out
that all I wanted was to be seduced
               and you stopped?

               I remember because
the day is grey
               like the first day of school
when the sky looked like
               the beginning of abandonment
and the soggy sandwich in my lunchbox,
               rampant with banana and chocolate spread,
smelled like the birth of longing.

               What is it about that chill
that erases May only to replace it
               with the fragility of first sex?
Because that animal in me shudders
               in anticipation of touch
before it had consequence,
               and Spring stood shirtless still.

is that hunger in me,
               like the folds of first nudity
when the clothes piled on the floor,
               and his skin was there, right there,
bristling to grow.


Love chafes off my edges
like old brittle paint
falling in pieces of hooker green
on the bathroom floor.

I am devoid of touch,
hollowing at the center;
strike me
and you can hear me echo.

The dust in the old room settles,
like first lips, gingerly on my skin.
It’s like age materializing,
faces reappearing after the fact.

Lorca dreamt me tonight.
He spread my legs
across the streets of Cordoba
and asked me to call his name.

I yelped until I went hoarse,
tickling the letters with my tongue,
rolling them over like a nipple
on toothless gums.