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October 6, 2021 Poetry

Two Poems

Amira Maher

Two Poems photo

analgesic for apostates

nosediving from the ketamine and
distracting myself from the open
wound on my back, crimson-soaked

mesh shorts and criminally cotton
mouth, the nurse flashes flawless pastel
tips, stark against a dark hijab and

elegant scrubs, modestly thanking me
for the compliment: “my husband scolds
me that my prayers won’t count.” I used

to wear halal nail polish too and tell
her I’m sure the benevolent lord will
accept her pink manicured salat, but she

says she needs to be forgiven. my walls
are still spinning. I wonder if life is
better this way. in all my drugged glory,

I announce that she should forgive herself.
covered arms crossed, she glances at the
name on my chart and laughs: “salamualaikum

sister, I didn’t realize.” I suppose my condition
and tattoos are deceptive. she gushes she’s
found her peace as a revert, and that she’s

glad we can share the Truth and salam, while
I have neither, nor do I have the heart and
the breath to tell her I killed my god at 17.

instead, we lock eyes and smile: I haven’t found
my peace yet, but I come pretty close when
the nurse at the next station gives me an oxy.

Protein deficiency

My stalker tells me he likes the way I twirl my curly hair.
He says, “That’s hot!”
I say “No, that’s anxiety.”
He plays the piano,
serenades me with an epic he lifts weights to.
I take my hat out of the fridge and then pull
my heart out of my bra, give it a squeeze and toss it
in the silver skillet with butter slices and oregano.
Restaurants around here don’t season their food, and I’ll be damned
if I eat eggs with no salt, but
I think I’ll be damned anyway.
I do a Hail Mary for some good karma,
but then I remember I’m Muslim.
I pull my hair out, tie it in a bow, and use it
as garnish for my meal.
My stalker doesn’t say anything.

image: Aaron Burch