"Boundless, or On Human Complexity"
by Marissa Ahmadkhani
Name me cataclysm, crushed flowers underfoot,
the purpling of dusk. I am lightning
in the summer, yellowed hills ready to ignite,
stiff legs, lakeside light, hovering mosquitos.
On some days I am gnarled roots, a flooded basement,
my scarred left knee. I am pomegranate-red, straining
eyes, my mother’s voice, the thickness of smoke. Call me
summer heat. Joining hands, still water, smell of dirt,
the lemon grove back home. I am supple & pink, lisianthus
slow-opening, but also its petals, soon browned
& curled inward. Name me multitude, desert, the meeting
of lips. I am the smell of lilac in the late-afternoon,
the warmth of sleep & the waking to an empty hand.
Marissa Ahmadkhani holds an MA in English from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of California Irvine. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the minnesota review, Radar Poetry, The West Review, and poets.org, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2015 and 2017.