“Red Moon” by Mehnaz Sahibzada

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Red Moon

On my evening walk, I am the girl
with two heads — a schizoid startled
by strangers. My heart leaps like a fish.

A boatman once told me, hate swims
down the spine and becomes a wish.  
Women who elope to storm center,

grow beards and make mistakes.  
I stroke my chin reflexively. The moon
drips swirls of consolations. Still my

mind is a monster of menstruations.
There is a cosmos inside of me that wants
to erupt. I picture my spleen expanding,

my kidneys shooting stars. In the lawn
outside my neighbor’s house, a rage of roses.
Their thorns like the fangs of a wolf.



Mehnaz Sahibzada was born in Pakistan and raised in Los Angeles. She holds an MA in Religious Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and she is a 2009 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her short story, "The Alphabet Workbook," appeared in the August 2010 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Her poetry chapbook, Tongue-Tied: A Memoir in Poems, was published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press, and her second chapbook, Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat, was also published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. Her work has appeared in publications such as Asia Writes, The Rattling Wall, and Pedestal Magazine. An English teacher, she lives in southern California. To learn more about Mehnaz, visit her at www.poetmehnaz.com .

Photo Credit: Staff