September 17, 2018 >

September 17, 2018 >


Two Poems

by Oksana Noriega

A Culling

Double-edged; lips unsewn.

Dawn ghosts
my shaved head.

I cross the road.

I enter the house,
my body a map

of the long hall—past

the locked room
whose floor I’ve memorized.

Hand on the final knob,
I close my eyes,

slip into
their knife-clad bedroom:

drawers full of pictures
of my God-bitten face.

to reanimate dead poppies.

To then plant
one boot

on each skull
as on the prow of a ship.



Evening Walk

Diseased pigeon: know what I offer you I’ve carried with me since then, and longer. Encased in phlegm, this thin blood jewel formed in the pressure, underground, of wonder, and unanswerable questions. I place it in the sidewalk groove at your feet. No, plagueling, wonder and the unanswerable are not the same thing. I trace my insignia with a finger onto your balding scalp. You eat the jewel, I walk away, looking anywhere but back, walk for hours, through the plain of car parts, chain-link, fishnet. When I reach the harbor, I will sit, rest, watch the passing container ships. The sun will set. And when you die, I will find you, ferry you in my arms to the black-gray canal, where I’ll pry you open, take back my gift, then send you on ahead of me.


Oksana Noriega is a genderqueer writer and trafficking survivor. She lives with others.