Self Portrait

by Iman Hariri-Kia

My skin is a mudslide
the chaotic disorder of
the natural world, plummeting
down my ribcage, the slope
slithers past my fingernails
scraping up, carrying cartilage
silencing screams, it buries
the past, preserves its own present

My mind is a metronome
pulsing profusely to the beat
of my apathy, anxiety, arias
ticking like a time bomb
in the foreground of my thoughts
pacing my days, haunting my night
falls, i stare at the skylight counting
my faults, each beat per measure

My body is a balance beam
a graceful art, delicate, refined
death trap, too thin, too thick
one toenail in front of the next
falling a fine line between
artifice and facility, gold medals
or mortuary, no, the beam is too low
but the win warrants the biggest high

My hair is a holding cell,
its cage easily rattled, strand
by strand, cutting inches or maybe
a deal, two years, two years to life,
two feet and you won't have to sit
on that goddamn mess anymore
black, like your future if you don't
rinse and repeat, to avoid lice, and the law

My bones are a briefcase
hard shelled, hiding secrets
collecting counsel, protecting
pathogens, but ultimately evading
age, its leather is worn out, weak
the zipper is loose, lose, reuse
replacing handles, handbags, hands,
hips, chasing the time, we once wasted

My eyes are an Island
deserted, dock your ship, stay
the night, and we'll drink gin
on the rocks of my bay, singing
Johnny, don't leave me now,
till the sun wakes, winking, lids
locking, lashes, look out, for sirens
guard the tide, and the current is strong

My blood is a baby girl
its been down in the trenches
working like a lady of the night
contorting its carnage, rugged, red
when it hits the sun light, but truly
a dark blue, trapped, treading
the surface, knowing her one way out
is to run the risk, of getting cut

My heart is a hospital gown
its seen many come and go
cried with your mother, rejoiced in
rejuvenation, one size fits all, yet
always too big or too small, itchy
yet worn out from the wash
yearning for an owner, but knowing
its purpose is to give, never get, relief

 

This piece will appear in the first issue of Bossier Magazine on Sunday.

Michele Dale