Two Poems by Mahalet Dejene

Red, Violent Earth

Itaytay, whose hands are withered like an off-season peach
is rubbing the blood off the dress my father bought me.
It was white like the powder that falls from the sky in America.
Melaku yinadedibignal inde? I asked, “is father going to be angry?”
She looks down at me, her old eyes black like olives and says Anchi tifatena, “troublemaker.”

There Are More Fish In The Sea, Or So They Tell Me
in the style of Terrance Hays

I think you know, you think I know, I think she knows, he thinks you know, you think she knows, we think who knows over and over again. When? I discovered the origin of our decision was lost: someone somewhere forgot to document who cared more. The dolphins we loved, floundered alone in beach sand. The same way she did. Me? I'm an opening doors kind of gal, the girl who sees the glass but not the water. The one who swears when she sneezes and cries when she wins, you know what I mean? (I sing when I feel like it and I talk out of turn, but that's another story entirely.) I fought back in the same way sea lions do. I roared and sunk my tooth in. She was a wild turkey almost everyday, and he, he was flying too high to begin with. But recently, when I'm feeling bluegray, I touch my elbow and remember your once tight and leathery grip.

Mahalet Dejene

is going to be a Journalism and Spanish double major and Creative Writing minor (concentrating in poetry) at New York University.

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