Ghazal for Anwari
I cast a spell of poppies where she sleeps.
While heavy rains pour elsewhere, she sleeps.
Under scented sheets as sweet as summer
peaches, she softens, melting where she sleeps.
I set white lilies and pink carnations in a vase
by her bedside. They flourish where she sleeps.
Is she dreaming, humming an avaz to keep me?
A Farsi whisper lifts from where she sleeps.
I swallow almonds in silence, disperse violets
over hair fanned on the pillow where she sleeps.
She opens her eyes for a moment, irises flecked
with gold, drawing me closer to where she sleeps.
Relaxed below the gilded canopy, she dreams.
Silk caresses her silhouette where she sleeps.
Anar juice falls from my lips, lands on olive skin.
I lean towards her, gaze at where she sleeps.
She’s brighter than the lantern locked in my chest.
A candle’s glow charms where she sleeps.
Does she reach out a hand, blossom wanting
a flowerbed, to have me join her where she sleeps?
As sentry, Peace keeps nightmares away, lays
kisses on her body, everywhere. And she sleeps.
The Selkie Kópakonen
Look beyond Mikladalur, where
earless seals hunt and stir beneath the gray
North Atlantic. They set traps,
you know, rip flesh
with stark-white teeth, tinting the sea red.
And when the moon is high—
like later tonight—she’ll come for us,
her marine army not far away.
Do you see her statue? Down where
frozen sea meets ragged
and rocky shore.
Wild white-capped waves
crash behind her, churning;
and she taunts us, glaring straight
forward in stone silence, saying
she will not move, she won’t
stop haunting our village, stealing men
like she was stolen years ago.
how she grips her charcoal
skin—the coat she used to strip off
once a year for reverie?
And doesn’t her right hand look like it’s reaching
Fog hides Kunoy—Woman Island—
in the distance, covering her curves in cloud,
but the Selkie never leaves
our sight, never disappears.
That seagull there, the one circling
her slate-colored hair—he knows
her legend, her ancient warning:
I’ll drown you or fell you,
ignoring each wrawl, until the dead
link arms ’round our island long.
She survives the cracks in her body—
greenish, brackish, tough—despite
the tundra, despite the waters’ roaring,
our people’s cries. And her stance, her stare!
Doesn’t her nakedness command you?
Livia Meneghin is currently an MFA candidate at Emerson College, and has work forthcoming or published in tenderness lit, The Rockvale Review, the Poeming Pigeon, and elsewhere. She is the author of Honey in My Hair, a chapbook born from a summer in Greece. Livia has also lived in England, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and was born in Italy—and intends on expanding that list.