Thirteen Weeks 

Learning the scent of death

    took a dream, the smell 
    of a girl with long waves of hair 

    and a rope necklace strung from the rafters

    it took her scent in bloom across 
    the room, pushed out against the windows

    stretched deep into the emptiness 
    beneath her feet

a smell with a punch to the gut, a taste 
distinct to those left behind

this indication that a shift has occurred 

a passing vacancy of flesh
as the body tries to prepare its mind—

    for that second knowing, the recognition 
    that comes three mornings later

    when the scent is now gleaned
    rising out of the bay between her legs 

when the doctor is called and the would-be grandmother 
drives across the desert to hold her daughter's hand

    when the small truth is confirmed
    the lost heartbeat and future

    becoming instead an odor    
    a little mass of decay

    to be scraped 
    and spooned away

before it can evolve into bad medicine— 
a larger death then a body can absorb


She’s glued to the nest again, rosette of red feathers 
fluffed out like a puffer fish, round ginger dahlia 
splayed out on the yellow straw. 

Another Missy spinning gold out of patience. 

She could sit there for eternity, one more sleeper 
focused on the future. She chuffs and chortles, whimpers 
a lullaby she’s been singing since the beginning of time.

In my hands she is hot. Soon I will take her

to the trough where she will stand 
in the basin, coaxed quiet, belly sunk and cooling 
in the calm water.

All week a rooster crows from afar and I wonder 
if she dreams, imagines his presence, there at her back, 
holding her down.

Or is it only the chicks she dreams of, 
small gems of fire beneath her—half 
dragon, half moon—this instinct towards
the holy, the prescience of a miracle, her longing 

to be cracked open, her body waiting, waiting.

Having Fallen Into The Ocean of Another World

we are pregnant
the three of us
swimming upright                

    seahorses cresting each swell

heads and swollen breasts 
lifting high out of the water                        
round bellies rising on each wave        

    the water black with stars

it will never matter
if sharks circle at our legs
if our feet ever reach solid ground                 

we are swimming
holding hands all night
    the water cut thick with stars 

the black soup of the universe
running away with everything 
we race the stellar skies

    who knows what life we carry

hair blotting out the heavens
our mouths opening
to the quiet of small fish, fragments of light

    earth the memory of turquoise

Song of Creation

for god so loved the world

         and god’s heart stirred  spiraling galaxies  arms splaying     
         across the universe like petals  like starfish  fingers brushing light  
         painting the cosmos of her Body until it became solid  known  kissed  
         held swayed waltzed  beloved  conceived  a belly the size of Jupiter
         and the world did prosper and green  the world did sing

 for the world god so loved

         doors open and stepping forth some unnamed winged creature 
         revels in the light of melody and god hearing glories in the Song and                 
         wonders if it is her own  if she can recognize the notes  fragments 
         of a verse  the smallest trill rising from within  ready to give birth
         ready to remember  to step into skin  to drum the bones into 
         brightness  body standing on its own two feet    

 for god the world so loved

         and there came a time when grace raced the greed of the world
         twins rushing the finish line  scarves flapping in the wind   aeon
         after aeon  lost in the journey the quest the becoming the yearning     
         to be bigger  humanity with its face pressed against the porthole   looking                 
         for stars  hungry for shore  and all along there were seeds  water  a plot                 
         of land  the returning sun  the red of apple  wild asparagus  deer in the field

for loved the world 

         the white cup of the hellebore  the tapestry of  the reef  yellow flag
         sunshine edging the pond  god amongst the living with her hands 
         in the dirt  head in the stars  eyes on the cabbage moth  the praying
         mantis   the last of the honeybees  sunflowers with heads bowed
         over the garden  a field of corn  a plateful of wonder  a full belly 

for loved the god

             she said it is good  she said  you are the one  she said this sprawled 
             across the continents  as she lit up the cities  as she whispered the names 
             of her favorite places  what mountains  what rivers  what oceans  places                 
             ethereal as a dream  distant as heaven  she taught Blues in a flat on B                 
             Street  she cried for every tear  every war  aged feet swelling  ankles                 
             round as melons  the concrete tsunamis

so loved the world  

             windows never imagined  the chant of traffic  phantom of what
             we once were  that longing  that longing  that knows another way   the                 
             Outro always unreachable   the Chorus now cliched  stuck  a repetitive 
             fingerprint of what once was  now a shackle  a harness  a fallacy                     
             indifferent to the rumble crossing her path  bowed to the soil

so loved the god

             bowed to the fist of smoke  first one  thank you  and then 
             another   as if the words mattered   knee deep 
             in ashes  as if words could stream  backwards  like a river 
             flowing to its source  like water lifting  rising back  
             into the clouds  words stretched  back to eternity  back 
             to the very beginning  that first opening   that first wide  dawn  
             of time 


About the Author:

Tara Moghadam’s is a writer currently residing in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Her work has appeared in The Southern Poetry Review, Driftwood, Waterstone, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, One Room Over, was the winner of The Edda Poetry Chapbook Prize for Women. In better years, she has taught creative writing in university, schools, and community programs both in the Mid-West and in the Pacific Northwest.

Image by Luminas Art from Pixabay