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My Nose Was God’s Afterthought

i wake up to the face my ancestors
brought with them–stubborn eyes
that refuse the refuge of uv-tinted
tents of prescription glasses,
instead borrow light from the blind;
the only language of their prayer is sleep.
my morbid mouth is sinking deeper
with every glint of moonrise into
the bird’s nest of my throat to
incubate the hunger for guilt and
forgiveness inside my body.
my ears have rented silence on
an expired lease–the sound
i fear is the only sound they hear

my nose is sitting in the centre
of this poem like a prey waiting
to be devoured, or a bleeding bible
that doesn’t know its religion;
this nose, it feeds on april’s feasts,
snorts pollens and political poems;

my nose pokes patriarchy in
the shin and ends up bloody
and broken too often;
it dreads to deciper
the scent of loss from
love because it has inherited
the tender tendency to ‘mis-smell’
one from the other;
the famine of forgetting the smell
of my history is plaguing my nose.

Untitled by Mario Navarro Rosales

my nose was god’s afterthought–
hurried and incomplete,
stuffed between the eyes and mouth
like foreign vowels forced
amidst confused consonants;
its bridge from where my pride goes skinny-dipping early in the morning
is arranged to pose as a question–
an anathema or a crucifix?
the river of my ancestors’ bones
in my nose, is clogging my ability to sniff out
ruins from other realms

there is a love poem waiting to
be written about the mole on
the left edge of my nose
[where all the treasure of
my self-love are stashed]
and i am a poet,
so of course i am conceited enough
to conceive one myself.

and so i write tonight,
to my ancestors this angry
attempt at an apology from
my longest-held breath, because this nose?
it is one of the buttons of
god’s own baby-blue linen
shirt that she hand-picked
and sewed on to my face,
the kind she planted on
my mother’s face,
and i owe every seed of
moment in the womb of this earth
to that round, little button my last breath baptized
a bullet. When the time
comes, let the desire of living through
death knock on the doors of
my chest to elope with the flesh
of my heart.

~ Shrishti Saharia

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