Pantea Karimi    © 2017 All Rights Reserved

after, tigers

every night the girlís options wave in the dark
            like dirty raincoats.

the girl remembers her heart in the theater
                      like a problem she is trying to solve.

            it was not supposed to look like that.

every year the girl grew there had always been new advice.
            those words used to be round at the edges:

                     count to four, and again,
                                                         and go get Ďem
                     but donít really.

                                and that was how it was supposed to be,
                     but now people
keep going to higher and higher extremes.

            rip Ďem apart,
                                someone says,
           commit murder,
                                                      pull the lettuce
of their flesh apart like lightning,
                                                     make sure
            you donít go
                                            anywhere alone

            the girl counts what everyone says
            like beads on her glass necklace.

                       make sure you donít go anywhere alone.
at night every room crawls:
                                       velvet seats, bad skin
                       like an onionís,
                       his face
                                  becoming pinched
                                             as it got closer.

                                                                                the girl
            remembers her heart spread out
            on movie theater seats,

            learning how her body
            could be wrecked.

                                    here is a girl being established
                                    by light, ligature.

the girl wakes up needing a different ending:

                      twelve tigers in glass beads
                      who do not want her to die ordinary.

          everything is holy and possible.

          everything the girl remembers happens
          in reverse:

                                a seat that sticks to her back in the car,
                                            the light shining in from the windows,

          the mother and father who ask her to choose better,

                     but here is the girl trying to choose better,
                                                      and it isnít working at all.

here is the girl,
                    like light,
                                     like that.


Nora Claire Miller
Copyright © 2017  

Nora Claire Miller is a senior at Hampshire College concentrating in poetry and archival studies. Noraís work has appeared in DecomP, SiDEKiCK LIT, H.O.W. Journal, and Eunoia Review.

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