After the Breakup, I Board a Plane
On the roof behind the water heater, my body is reckless in its looping sadness, and the stranger on top of me is pushing my mouth forward. I offer the ledges of my body. I pause, if briefly, in my mental rendition of the Ex’s mundane intricacies of personhood. When I pull down the stranger’s pants, his pubic hair loops around my tongue. I taste the salt of balls. His body’s weight rocks past my uvula, and he thrusts his chin back to look skyward. I expect a grunt to erupt from my steady cleaving labor, my wet tongue—I expect reassurance of my body’s value to another body—and I am ready for it when a couple flashes a light at where we join. We divide like a cell on a biology class slideshow. I remain singular. I point my body toward the ledge of the roof until the wordless couple and their light fade. Outside Dushanbe, I can see stars on a cloudless night.
A Woman’s Body Is a Promise
Before the beloved’s cock, my vaginal muscles clamped. We spoke of children only in the abstract. I potted a surrogate: lavender. Not dead, my mama suggested when I showed her the crusts: buds darkened to grave. She told me to keep the lavender in a closet, moisten its roots until spring, repot it then. My muscles raveled tighter. My thoughts unraveled looser: if I can’t sustain even a lavender—. The beloved left. Khoshgel-e Mama, my mama said in the face of my dejection. In Farsi, mothers address their children as mama in affection. My mama instructed me in salvage: what to prune, what to save by leaving alone. When the beloved left, I salvaged my body. When the beloved left, I let him leave. I left alone.
Yasmine Ameli is an Iranian American writer with publications in Poetry, The Sun, Ploughshares, Narrative, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She works as a holistic writing coach for creative writers. Find her at yasmineameli.com and on Instagram @yasmineameli.