the stranger

at this age
im busy
making room
for what
happen to me–
in a slurry
of dreams
seeing myself
age seven
down a wide
on a purple
honied nectary
let me
grow up
but not get dead
–im afraid
of serious
the way a slice
of sunbeam feels
on morning arm
like praying
half asleep

background music

I’m downtown walking on marion and 5th
and a woman is waving across the broad intersection.
I raise a hand and wave as the sun disappears

behind clouds again. it turns out she is stretching
and actually I am stretching also. there’s no gesture
to show you’re unsure how something started–

–moving on, I am honest. most mornings I wake
with the same song playing over–like a dream
scrap on a reel or expression as an anchor. I cross

the walk and crane my neck into the sun. old thoughts
slide on old thoughts making ash for nothing new
to rise from. again I’ve brought you into a day amused

with its own loud quiet and watery wind. it does not care
how love develops! this light is undependable. wherever
sounds are housed in my body they rebel.

no angel

the phone always
rings twice in heaven

there’s no rush to answer
and everything is gentle

here you came
bashing your split ends

against the clouds
and yelling NOO heaven

NOoo heaven
noooooo heaven

I laugh and agree
finally some entertainment

we leave this place together
wanting to eat whole small risks
wrapped in rice paper

into your mouth I pop

a fattened coin a baby’s braid
a caulifower stem

you make plans that feel
like something
I can let myself

we go to cliff sides at night
to remind ourselves
of natural edges

weeping I wake up
from a bad dream

I haven’t yet loved
the right way

you put my tears
in a basket to grow
beautiful molds

and it rots
in the shed
to this day

Leena Joshi

Leena Joshi is a visual artist and writer born to Indian immigrants. Her writing and art practice explore the relationship between the changing self and its environment through negotiations of text, image, music, performance, and installation. Her work can be found in Monday: the Jacob Lawrence Gallery Journal, Tagvverk, La Norda Specialo, Pacifca Literary Review, and Poor Claudia, among others.


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