my mom’s laddoo for the soul
the sky is an oil-stained paper plate perforated
by the laughs of once-loved mothers.
one star drips into another spiraling
out to the germ of the universe.
electric jalebi, the constellation of my heart. organs
connected by stardust and saccharine. vessels of
fried flour and sugar. dipped into the milk
of endearment. we read the stars like we eat.
we eat like we may slip through the crack
between the sidewalk and the blinds. let me drool
down a meteor shower of delight. lick each
star from tip to sweet fiery drip. take
the F train to Broadway-Lafayatte
and the 6 to the moon
self-portrait as the q train
When I dream, I see the top of the Empire State Building
from a mountain that does not exist. I have been carried
there by a bird that treats my flailing body like
a poisonous snake. I am a mirror of the sky.
When I wake up, let them know I’m not tired of being pissed
on or in, every amber stream a gash
into another life more verdant than this one.
“The next station is Prospect Park,”
a disembodied voice inside tells me. She repeats it so
many times every day I almost believe her.
To know there is a possibility of buttercups
and clusters of trees nearby. Torture.
The park remains a prospect.
I listen to the mothers inside me telling their
young ones to hold on, their caterpillar hands
Wrapped tightly around my skeleton.
My roots cold, stretching from salt to avarice.
My feet destined to be kissed by vermin.
Angbeen Saleem is an artist, poet, aspiring farmer and filmmaker. She hails from the jawn that made jawn happen, played Othello once in a high school English class, and is a Pink Door Fellow. Her work has appeared in American Asian Writers’ Workshop Magazine, Bayou Magazine, Pigeon Pages, The Slowdown and in other timelines of the multiverse. Follow her on Instagram (@angribeen) and Twitter (@angbe3n).