Gabriel Malikian: Two Poems


 Tether and Tryst

Peeled – fingers, spilling,

drenched in swift motion.


The varnish lick of

a bruise – a bite mark


tattoo. Lifting


from her crevice: clear

light. Rapt, I find you,


fervent, unfurling,

reaching my shadow.


You – sentry – clenching

your pilum, hold me


in and ask: will we

end like this? With my


informed leaking? Loss

of feeling flesh, ease…



her ocean closes.



Ponta da Piedade

Neither beacon nor torch

tonight. A hushed ocean


slaps the hull of a tin dinghy

anchored in the surf.


A man swims, bearing his body

toward marble arches. He’s been


here before – even let himself

bob on his back, staring at the apex


where the marble thins. A wife

watches from the littoral as this man


pushes ounces of ocean away, inching

against what is incoming. Inundated


with waves, he is rooted to water.

Alarmed, she watches his limbs


lengthen. The marble thins some.

The wife sees how reaching has


no motion. How a husband doesn’t

float and foul, but dissolve. Beached,


she refuses to move.

Gabriel Malikian



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