Jasmine Khaliq


aj I don’t know how to say it.
any day soon my grandma will die.
I am scared to see her face
easter-yellow and going.

aj I’ve never had full faith in heaven.
aj I’ve never wished more that I could.
you did back then, so you do here:
what is it like to know it real?

aj how does light crumple and spin
off heaven when you hold it in your hand?
you could hold it in your hand.
you do more than shoot horses.

and you have a face
enough to speak to. my own
in the window stranger
than ever now save my

cupid’s bow hers too
softer than ever
now aj what do I do?
if I opened

this window—
if a baby cried—
if I could be solaced—
if roosters flew by—

HALAL (permissible)

into bathtubs I vomit
myself waxy, gutted
pumpkin ripe for carving
a new face I flirt

over the counter with a butcher
for the best cuts hang me
upside down already drain
me wan and white

knowing my eyes will give
me away but as long as I eye
steaks through glass packed like NICU babies
we pretend I am the prized pig stupid pink and I am

when my ammi compliments my nose or how I’ve stayed
inside all summer like her sick bird in its cage hooked
on the porch under shade, the wild outside just dangling
under its beak, above it, all around it, and my dad’s
beaknose is always peeling now, orange rind

you can split me same as fruit
with your thumb down the middle
or maybe more like cattle would
you saw through the backbone?

my imperial nose twitches
at stars of iron and bleach

in my dreams I lay on patios
the butcher likes me medium well

Jasmine Khaliq is a Pakistani Mexican poet born and raised in Northern California. Her work is found or forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Black Warrior Review, The Pinch, Poet Lore, phoebe, Raleigh Review, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from University of Washington, Seattle and currently is a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, serves as Assistant Editor of Quarterly West, and reads for Split Lip Magazine.