a first kiss

we burned our tongue on hot pavements

in a parking lot, at three pm, ninety degrees outside

i wished that it would burn your taste off

so, i wouldn’t feel it

i tried to cut my lips off

the traitorous pair 

betraying my every wish to stop and run away

my hands need a sawdust bath

my legs could be fine sitting miles away from here

 on a boat to antarctica 

anywhere from here, this body

this mind

this guilt

anywhere would be perfectly suitable

for a shameless girl like me

Memories From June 1st

Maybe for kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves. 

Around the kitchen, while waiting for the pasta water to boil 

For laughs, we’ll sing karaoke to “Build Me Up Buttercup”. 

And maybe tonight, we’ll watch the fireflies in the yard and laugh when my dog tries to eat one. 

in three days, I’ll look back on this evening 

Sitting in a lonely dorm room 

And pray that someone would come and take me back to that moment. 

Religiously Unreligious

They

Shake a fist to the sky

Spit on the grave of a saint

Roll their eyes at the tomfoolery of church bells and altar boys

Blame the institution

Blame the higher power

Use the Lord’s name in vain- but don’t allow His name settle on the top of their tongues

I

Am religiously unreligious, but I fall far from the fallacy

Of violence and shame and general unpleasantness

I say, Let the people have their bread and wine

I’ll sit in the back having mine

Our minds may work differently

And our prayers may go to different ears

But we bleed the same

And live in the cemetery

Of flesh, blood and a pumping heart

S H E L L Y

Shelly 

Two blue lines.

My heart was racing as I checked the test again.

Two. Blue. Lines.

One little head, poking out of the white blanket.

Six letters, S-H-E-L-L-Y. On the gift box label, left on my doorstep,

A gift for the baby, read my neighbor’s scrawly handwriting.

Two syllables, Mama, was Shelly’s first word. 

Fifteen books, I bragged to the moms around me.

Fifteen books and counting, on Shelly’s bookshelf.

I told them Shelly was made for great things.

Three months, the oncologist told us.

Three more months to the end of my daughter’s short life.

Three more months till the evil growing in her head would take over our lives, and end it.

Four candles on the cake. My daughter blew them out, ignoring the dull pain in her head.

10:18 PM, time of death.

2014-2018. Here lies Shelly. 

This poem was featured on Kentucky Arts Council’s Facebook page to celebrate Kentucky Writer’s Day. Check it out!

https://fb.watch/5w8_eox-1R/

Me Without An Idea

Me without an idea

An idea without a thought

A thought without a brain

A brain without a human

A human without a home

A home without a fireplace

A fireplace without wood

Wood without trees

Trees without plants

Plants without the sun

The sun without the day

The day without night

The night without stars

The stars without a sky

A sky without clouds

Clouds without rain

Rain without grass

Grass without cows

Cows without milk

Milk without cats

A cat without a dog

A dog without bones

Bones without a body

A body without a home

A home with me

And me with no time.

-Zoya

The Greedy King

The king sat on the table for a breakfast he liked most,

he ordered scramled eggs and ham with cherry jam on toast.

He also ordered six cakes to see what the baker bakes,

Then he added chocolate sauce and gave a little pause.

He walked to the garden wth the sun shining on his face,

But coz of the amount he ate, slowly weakened his pace.

Alas! He tripped and fell in a hole,

and as he hit his head he thought of food more and more!

The Lonely Lantern

“Said the solders to his men ‘lets go near the river’,
The war was on, blood was shed and masses would shiver,
To Mekong they went, tired they sat,
In the water went a lantern all lit,
It bobbed and swayed and dipped along,
It reminded the men of a beautiful song,
They thought of the days gone by,
When the mothers wail and the children cry,
War brings pain and misery all around,
Let the peace and happiness of this world abound.”