Salomé By Ai Ogawa

Salomé I scissor the stem of the red carnation and set it in a bowl of water. It floats the way your head would, if…

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Conversation By Ai Ogawa

Conversation We smile at each other and I lean back against the wicker couch. How does it feel to be dead? I say. You touch…

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Riot Act, April 29, 1992 By Ai Ogawa

Riot Act, April 29, 1992 I’m going out and get something. I don’t know what. I don’t care. Whatever’s out there, I’m going to get…

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Woman To Man By Ai Ogawa

Woman to Man Lightning hits the roof, shoves the knife, darkness, deep in the walls. They bleed light all over us and your face, the…

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Passage For Allen Ginsberg By Ai Ogawa

Passage For Allen Ginsberg Sunflowers beside the railroad tracks, sunflowers giving back the beauty God gave you to one lonely traveler who spies you from…

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Twenty-Year Marriage By Ai Ogawa

Twenty-year Marriage You keep me waiting in a truck with its one good wheel stuck in the ditch, while you piss against the south side…

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Passing Through By Ai Ogawa

Passing Through “Earth is the birth of the blues,” sang Yellow Bertha, as she chopped cotton beside Mama Rose. It was as hot as any…

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The Kid By Ai Ogawa

The Kid My sister rubs the doll’s face in mud, then climbs through the truck window. She ignores me as I walk around it, hitting…

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Nothing But Color By Ai Ogawa

Nothing But Color I didn’t write Etsuko, I sliced her open. She was carmine inside like a sea bass and empty. No viscera, nothing but…

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Motherhood, 1951 By Ai Ogawa

Motherhood, 1951 Dear Saint Patrick, this is Peggy, Or maybe it’s Pegeen to you, Well, I’m really Stella Mae. Peggy’s my nickname, But anyway, will…

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Killing Floor By Ai Ogawa

Killing Floor 1. RUSSIA, 1927 On the day the sienna-skinned man held my shoulders between his spade-shaped hands, easing me down into the azure water…

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Grandfather Says By Ai Ogawa

Grandfather Says “Sit in my hand.” I’m ten. I can’t see him, but I hear him breathing in the dark. It’s after dinner playtime. We’re…

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Disregard By Ai Ogawa

Disregard Overhead, the match burns out, but the chunk of ice in the back seat keeps melting from imagined heat, while the old Hudson tiptoes…

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Cuba, 1962 By Ai Ogawa

Cuba, 1962 When the rooster jumps up on the windowsill and spreads his red-gold wings, I wake, thinking it is the sun and call Juanita,…

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Barquisimeto By Ai Ogawa

Barquisimeto, Venezuela, October 27, 1561 Today it rained vengefully and hard and my men deserted me. My kingdom was as close as calling it by…

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