Dilruba Ahmed


I have seen the spiked lavender, sage,
spiny as a sea creature, and felt
neither dumb joy nor bitterness.

Mustard flowers in hills as
high as a horse, and I hold
no pain. Poppies grow scattered

by the highway, glowing orange,
and I’m neither drawn nor
repelled. I’m no longer turned

brittle by the shushing of jacaranda
nor by the hot, dry scent of summer.
I live there no more. I live now

at the well-bottom, my mouth
open to catch copper pennies,
swallowing wishes of others.