Poetry | ‘Miriam’ & 2 other poems by Sujash Purna | Issue 38 (Feb, 2021)

Miriam

She is a mystery
with her belly out on her bean bag.
She tells me:
“I got almost raped by the guy
I met at the orientation
and dated for a month or so.”

I shouldn’t have bent her fender
when I knew that the grocery bags
from Walmart would be awkwardly
staring at us, when we didn’t have
anything more to say.

An intruder from the pages
of Truman Capote,
she allows other Miriams like her in my room
to haunt her and take her space,
to take her place;
they sit with me to paint with watercolors,
let out post break-up angst over coffee cups
full of pinot noir. I remember once

Miriam took a jumbo pitcher of sangria
from the bottom shelf,
breaking the residence rules of her dorm.
Watercolor paintings slept in around her shelves
full of dead writers and haiku books.
The tiny hearts around Basho’s words
screaming her love that hides behind.

In Kansas City, they say, she is a great bar-
tender now, tending old folks with grey
Boulevard Pale Ale, sprinkling mustache.
Sparkled eyes see her glide underwater,
under a sea out from time and society-
she doesn’t age after all these years.
Through the crystal rocks of ice
you can see she is
in your room after all these years
behind these words, Miriam.


Clotilde

I feel sick all day long from not being with you,
I just want to go out every night for a while — AIR

Chesterfield cigarettes turn into Marlboro,
for the pursuit of their American dream.
The two French girls
set up the only olfactory battle on the air
between the garam masala flavored chicken curry
and their French perfume.
They cook chicken curry in France too,
just the way I do.
Only they add sour cream in it. Says
the girl with the hardest to say name,
with a silver bracelet made back in Paris.

They tell me the French say cats and dogs are a cowboy’s lasso,
when they talk about heavy rain in the land of Gaul.

The girl with the hardest name
and the silver bracelet eats
with her hands for the first time,
rice and chicken curry on her plate,
and as her jeweled fingers clasped
a cube or two maybe,
as Renoir’s love walks
out from the frame.


Green Genteel

She wore green;
green lipstick,
green eyeliners lining green,
eye lashes deigning a mien,

quiet, a glass of water
in hand, she looks around
the room full of bastards
and godly children.

She decides not to judge
just as her water
genteel she keeps
in her green.

On St. Paddy’s Day
she remembers him
then she leans in
forward and grins

at a selfish me.
I am sorry but listen
I have to be in
the house by fifteen

I will keep the water
I say.
I need to hydrate
I say.

She keeps herself still
and silent
just as if her water
and she

swapped
their skins.
A green genteel
both coloring.


Bangladeshi-born Sujash Purna is a graduate student at Missouri State University. A poet based in Springfield, Missouri, he serves as an assistant poetry editor to the Moon City Review. His poetry appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Kansas City Voices, Poetry Salzburg Review, English Journal, Stonecoast Review, Red Earth Review, Emrys Journal, Prairie Winds, Gyroscope Review, and others. His chapbook collection Epidemic of Nostalgia is coming out soon from Finishing Line Press.

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