so i have been told.

so i have been told
when the silence finally settles,
a sheen of sadness sinks into my skin
like a second skeleton and
falls asleep.

there, it slumbers until a whisper splinters the air,
and the bones unravel and morph into masks
with eye-holes and breathing space,
until the tongues spill away

and silence quells again.

••ra’ahe khayat

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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

how rosaries hold prayers.

i.

if we could make fish-tails out of poems
i would fold you into a myth,
and write you on the inner wall
of my last dorsal bone;

but we’re humans
—i and you—

and we breathe like most birds do
when autumn vines hang out their hearts
for passersby to tie dying wishes
to dried wishbones.

ii.

and years, and luna said—
‘wishes ever outgrow the secrets that cradle them.

whisper your whims whence they’re never heard,
and widowed sylphs might bear them home.’

iii.

you blew out candles on my ulnar nerves
to truss my heart to your bone;

and we were decades before we were lovers.

and we were ended
before our eyes learned to blink.

iv.

and luna said—
‘the love you loved was forebound to leave.’

v.

i pressed my prayers to your rosary
and your rosary to my chest,

and you threw a stone at the sky
and it shattered over us like our faiths.

••ra’ahe khayat

call (l’appel du vide)

and for years i’ve heard it-
a call

a lover’s call;

whispering and settling over my bones
like my skin does
– on most days when it is not being pulled apart
by those laodicean sparrows –
like a vow does
– during weathers when they bury their tongues
in octagonal caskets anchored
to my wrist –
like longing does
– each time the night parts my thighs
and slips in –

within

where a stranger voice from the skies
– from the void –
echoes.

••ra’ahe khayat

leave, for there isn’t much to stay for.

2bbbec97bd86eae5a789b4a926d15804if you have come to leave, then do not stay by me with your breath reeking of yesterdays -time decays by days, heart decays by the hours- and i and you, we decayed in the heartbeats it took for the sparrows to migrate from northern longings to southern silences.

if you stay, but do not remain, then be there in that faraway land where the sky weeps into your palms, with the very lover you keep leaving behind, simply to come watch me fall;
but
if you must, then be here until the very end, when the rocks fill my marrows, and exorcise them of the monsoon that grieves without rain.

if you have come to but watch the stars lose their grip on my hair, then flit away little bird, the earth is yet to learn to fill the spaces under the skin of those left with much but ghosts;
-i’ve had far too many lovers to remain human. i’ve loved your heart in far too many ways to remain with one.

if you last to only feast on the memories buried in my areola, then perhaps you musn’t- there isn’t much brown that lingers on my nerves,
there isn’t much of the blue either.

••ra’ahe khayat

epitaph.

and when i die—

strip my skeleton of it’s skin,
and my organs of their bones,
and scatter them on concrete laden roads
for the dying to paw at;

throw my eyes and my lungs and my womb,
but my heart—

keep that which never loved
yet broke
everywhich day it longed
but never did more.

place it within a burning pyre of wisteria wood,
and gather their ashes for splintered sparrows
to carry off to the tongue
of my lover

i never could love after all.

••ra’ahe khayat

for when he is always away with the dawn.

your toes were guitar picks
picking at my veins-
strumming my heart
each time you walked on my body;
and i would wake up
with blue-black footprints all over my skin-
stretched around my bones
like a shore being swallowed by the sea
that never considered what it peculated
when it left
-stumbling away like a lover high on moonshine-

by the morning
i was always lesser.

••ra’ahe khayat

a quarter fist full of grief.

lover-

(lover is a loose term,
looser than the women you lose you nights to.
i have come to loathe those nights.)

a pavement grows between my ring finger
and your thumb,
as if we are retracing our steps
back and forth between our miscalculations

watching as the the curtains freeze
into something colder than a dried oasis,
on mornings when
there are dust specks near the windows
blinking in and out of continuity;

you’re always closer
when i’m half hanging at the doors-
lost,
when the clouds swallow themselves though.

an entire evening wraps her legs
around your waist,
but you only care enough to see
luna wried into a snowflake
between my teeth-

half struggling for breath,
and half struggling for the high that comes with being
breathless.

you’re slowly forgetting
the urge that made you paint the bones under our skins
with the liquid apathy the sky bled out;
and you’re slowly forsaking
the simple art of
being-
for the sake of
studying as the organs under our exposed skeletons
die.

lover-

i pull you out of our polaroids-
and you stop at that year
when everything just feigned to
be.

••ra’ahe khayat