Claim Mine


Nahrain Al-Mousawi

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 110 in 2005.

If you had eyes for me,
I’d tempt a cup uplifted from a basin
And give up my hands clean of
Lifelines divined in small trousseaus

Then you could not claim me down
Bend the neck of earth in toil
Sift my fine / Deny the coarse tokens

I play-act the streets for you
Swagger with a bottle and
Slur, I’m a tirade now
I’m brave against my own eyes
And no more, “Give me my ‘proper’

Then tonight / I saw myself years from now
A chronicle in phase one of your life
Falling carelessly
From the roof of your mouth
A woman in debt of sense enough to roll
In the dirt with another storyteller
A man drawing up a comical figure
Washing herself and
Still clutching their towels that read
Hers and Mine.