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Wyvern Lit

Three Poems

Poetry by Jess Rizkallah



i wanna marriage aziz ansari / because he says clever things on the internet / and i want to marriage the tallest mountain on the planet because it’s the closest one to the moon / but i wanna use it to get to the moon / i want to run away with the moon / but then shit will get complicated because i'll still also be in love with the mountain because a small part of you loves everyone you've ever loved even if you don't love them anymore / so i'll always kinda love you / wait /

i mean the mountain / i’ll always kinda love the mountain /  because it's seen me naked

with the lights on / didn't snatch the sun away / in a past life we were newsies / getting lost on backstreets / dropping skin cells / before that we were neighbors / i’d leave a cup of soup on his doorstep every once in a while when the taragon was extra crisp / every time it rained i’d find a different piece of colored glass to glue into my skin condition / replacing skin cells / and then i was a window / left him to throw myself at the sun / rode on the coattails of bullet cases / the sun shrapneled me into my mother's garden where she would find me thirty years later / nestled between the tomatoes / would carry me in the seeds of herself / would learn me how to love / before that the mountain was my wife and i was a bad husband / many husbands often are / lacerated her tongue with the glass she gave me when it rained / have you ever used stained glass for evil / have you ever caught it trying to escape through the cracks in yourself / this is what the catch in the pad of my thumb is / i still carry it around / when my skin gets caught on the lint of my scarf / when it screams by going red / when it swallows the chemicals while i work / while i scrub dishes made of the prelude to everything i'm going to ruin / and it burns / i know

 i fucked up once / broke a mountain's heart / now i'm doing it again / i plan on doing it again /




he tells me tattoos are for cretins.

for freaks.

the lonely.


he tells me i’m better than that.

he tells me he’s just grumpy.


he can’t breathe. says when he goes,

his foot better not get tangled in the wires.

better not be a parade balloon.

says he’ll give st. peter the finger and the lasso, too.

says he’d rather go to hell.


says he prays for me every night. tells me to pray every night.

i don’t remind him about history carving itself into the mineral

of our valley’s throat.


about the discovery of the moon next to venus

and a byzantine cross just above

and that’s why the maronites were safe here.


we’re safe here. deir al qamar, they christened it.

convent of the moon. this space rock visible all hours

of the night until it sets itself on fire just before eggyolk

and morning prayers that don’t belong to us.


i watched this every night last summer.         instead of praying.

i don‘t tell him i don’t pray anymore.

i don’t tell him that this is how i do it.


that now i want it as scripture on my body.

the same line again and again.                         




a tiny frog baby carried by a family of ants

and also puppies with strings around their nipples

like they’re balloons   chaperoning the overhead


& then the ocean elegantly crashing

atop yr best friend’s scalp, but in a punk rock way


& now imagine the word scalp.

now imagine it past tense.

imagine the scalped

and your feet knowing the dead

better than you ever did

when they were living.


& now imagine your mother’s feet

and all they have seen,

the bone fibers like static,

and secrets stored in the sudden separation

when the bombs came back


in the levant, there’s a thing about feet,

and the bottom of shoes


never show anyone the bottom of your shoes

it’s another way to say Fuck You.


it’s another way to say I Don’t Respect The Dead

That Died To Keep You Here.


don’t kick them off     they could land upside down

and then you’re saying Fuck You

to jesus. or to god.

or to that bird over there

flying under that cloud            and also to that cloud.

To that tree branch like a cowlick aiming for the ozone.       

                        what if the ozone was the portal to heaven? is a question

i would have asked if i didn’t know we stabbed it open.      

                        does the roulette spin back when you die? is a question

i would have asked before i knew anyone dead.

before i heard the sounds that could come out of my body

like all my organs running their nails down every crack

in me to follow him there


my body is a prison for my organs.

my body keeps them in tune until it can’t.                                       


people you love are organs living outside your body.

love keeps them in tune until it can’t.


heaven is a prison for the sound organs make

when they die. the soul is the sound organs make

as they die.     

            we are all dying           we are all here            

watching the gaping hole

in our ozone                as it swirls parallel

to the ones that those we love leave behind

for us to fill