the folding and unfolding of a love-story.

i.

it began on the fourth week of february
when she fell in love with
a bird under a man’s skeleton.

before march stole in through the chimney,
she was licking at the little pockmarks
his beak had left on her lips
after they kissed.

i’d wondered if he was a jay bird;
she wondered if she was loved back.

ii.

april came with her days on her tongue,
and her nights behind her spine
she’d spent at the feet of her faith.

they both were born to gods
holding carvers to the other’s neck.

they both were born to gods
who never forgave.

mid may,
she hummed hymns into the hollow of his hips,

and he said—

‘we are children born to never love
but to only pray for the longing to wane
into

w h  i   s    p     e      r       s.’

iii.

it was on the seventh day of june
when she moved her heart
into the woodpecker’s hole he’d dug on her scapula:

covered with a stretch of skin
no rock dove would ever steal.

••ra’ahe khayat

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