ياسمين crumbles all her moons & places them on her kitchen worktop she kneads silence with her tongue soaks it with sugar & raisins ferments it with crystals & saffron yeast is her pluto salt her neptune she cuts the dough into four pieces each piece forms its own universe she flattens the four universes with a rolling pin she allows sesame seeds & almonds to mould the universes into sorcery sorcery sits on the griddle cooking she plates silence with her name & rosemary & prepares for the dance of the constellation.
When ياسمين is still in bud you know that it is not ready for plucking the coil before a flower is a commitment to itself like the migration of crows after maghreb like the way the abundance of fish unsettles the sea kufa gari kufa dereva the death of the car is the death of the driver the death of the sea is the death of the fisherman when ياسمين uncoils itself the street vendors close their stalls men cut their palms like Zuleikha & the women at the banquet who fell for the beauty of Yusuf when ياسمين uncoils the maghreb adhan becomes louder the women pluck the tenderness of ياسمين’s climbing branches soak a few in warm water weave ten or twelve or seventeen into flowers throw others on a matrimonial bed & spread the rest on a pan of coconut rice & cardamom as the unplucking of ياسمين happens some beach boys at the Indian ocean pick the last coins from tour-guiding they wrap hasheesh like banana leaves & sing lies to white women swapping sex for favors swapping favors for sex.
My grandfather lived but not long enough for me he lived enough for the ياسمين of his daughters enough for the tides of Shella island the uncertainty of the murky waters during the maulid seasons enough to whip my wings in the sea of Buntwani my aunties dipped their legs in water scrubbed sand onto their faces & bodies there is nothing that removes dead cells like sand it is ten years & counting since the sand of my grandfather’s grave dried out my aunties exfoliate their bodies to remove men who have amnesia my mothers lived for nothing but entire clocks of men my mothers lived in the bodies of men men who swallowed their vocal cords men who uncoiled their ياسمين men who forgot that plucking the bud is a disservice to the self my grandfather lived but not long enough to see women like lighthouses remove dead cells until cleansed like the sands of Buntwani.
I am wearing a white shroud as I float into the air my body a casket of ياسمين & luban my soul a poem my mouth foams hashtags of yellow scarfs of bodies the pacific ocean ate all the tears of women whose only debauchery was cooking prayers in prostration glory be to the one who sees the deflowering of souls as women go to the streets of nightmares to watch entire tribes burn down for wearing fragments of shrouds my sister is climbing a curtain to save her wet heena from leaving her skin she is garden-fresh from childbirth her scarf leaves her hair & her breasts kneel down to the dyes & needles of tailors exorcised by a world that controls the algorithm a ball of wax melts I am wearing a shroud as I dissolve into white ياسمين I am three months dead.
Photo by Valentina Ivanova on Unsplash