SKIN, by Marissa Ahmadkhani
Like the crisp snow underfoot I am cold and full of want.
To settle someplace warm. Not warm like the homes
I’ve known, but warm like my own blood. Blood I want
to know, but I only know my father’s voice speaking
a language my tongue can’t plead. A voice speaking ocean
and snow—of my grandmother in the Mediterranean Sea,
of the pomegranate skins he left in the streets of Tehran.
My eyes are green: upturned like my father’s, my skin tan
and freckled like Genoa and Ellis Island. Like my mother.
In my grandmother’s childhood home in a trunk
under my mother’s bed: my great-grandfather’s yamaka.
I live between so many worlds, knowing only the sound
of my father’s language, each word heavy in my mouth,
dark curls heavy in my eyes.
Bay Area native Marissa Ahmadkhani has poems published or forthcoming in Radar Poetry, Southern Indiana Review, the minnesota review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The West Review, and poets.org, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2015 and 2017. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA at the University of California, Irvine.