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I learned the rain in cursive slants
I learned 
lying on doubts
spread on the sacred and not
spread on my bed, my pillow, my exhale
the crust of every lie I loved
tainted with silver sliver of your tongue

I turned that night on its back
after you went to bed
your streets indebted
to shadows of restless dreams
bruising on its replaced ribs
where trash collectors compress
disposed remnants
in the ruble
life’s severed limbs
an envy here
a longing there
a nothingness holier than my prayers

and I add
that face without the lips
under the face with muffled shame
under the face I used to have
on heaps of unfinished poems
where a lemon tree and jasmine blossoms
promised mornings
colored and scented at my fingertips

I learned the rain in every lie
in stammer of your pavements
where Saints gather in line at rock bottoms stacked
between my howl and a crow’s black squawk
wrists dripping prayers on St Rita’s solemn face
she sympathizes but says tonight she owns the ledge

there’s always mad laughter at the foot of beds
where Saints sleep on their sides facing the drapes
that catch the city’s quieting breath
misting under street lamps
that catch impelled compromise
in bourbon shots and blues on a clarinet
as lonely as you
that time when you asked my name
sometimes I tell you
long after you’ve gone to bed

© 2015, poem, Silva Zanoyan Merjanian, All rights reserved; excerpted from Silva’s latest book, Rumor. All proceeds from the sale  of this book go to Syrian Armenian Relief Fund; illustration courtesy of Steve McCabe (Poet Image), All rights reserved

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