Kateri David

Devout (Ghazal)

I kept everything. I spent

     the quilted dawn awake

and bruised. The horses were asleep,

     mouths swollen and soft.

I said the linens were washed, rabbit skinned

     when I ran the afternoon.

You ask my name, I spit back something close

     enough. No spare part of me is soft.

Christmas, the neighbors carried a puppy swathed in burlap,

     a pink ribbon around his neck.

They cradled him, and my whole family leered while I paused –

     afraid to touch a creature so soft.

When I first saw my love cry I thought the planet shifted,

     sky tearing itself new,

roaring blue while I shredded my last full breath

     on his leaving, his soft.

How much space between his body and her.

     My eyes shut to the scene

Behind doors I stained with touch. Did he overlap the shapes I left?

     You see, I thought I was good, soft.

The dogs quiet. I bound rosemary and thyme,

     set the silverware and do not

scream. Now, I show my teeth in pictures, I bride,

     I let. The ache wears soft.

Kateri David is a Cherokee citizen studying Rhetoric & Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. She received UT’s 2018 Trimble Award for Excellence in Writing, and her poetry has appeared in The Adriot Journal. You can find her complaining about campus life in her school’s paper, The Daily Texan.