Fresh off the press! Our poem of the week is from our latest issue: Volume 4, Issue 1. Ashley Roach-Freiman is a second-year MFA student with poems appearing or forthcoming in the Dunes Review, Midway Journal, THRUSH Poetry Journal, and DISTRICT Lit, among others. She also coordinates the Impossible Language reading series in Memphis, TN. More of her work can be found in the latest issue of burntdistrict.
By Ashley Roach-Freiman
My friend the city herbalist gives me a new language,
gives me tulsi, protector of the heart, holy in the scissor sunslant.
In his kitchen, it is green at the windows, green at the doors. Green mixes
with alcohol to act on the condition of a home to stain and stain.
In the garden of yes and yes, I let the split calyx of word spill into my spoon:
one teaspoon of extract internally as needed. May cause a feeling.
Tulasi before bed – effective against nightmares. Hold the breath.
Night unscrew the lid. May cause a feeling of burlap,
back of the throat, where the words are drug. I nod like I know something –
cool to the nerves, the whorls, my heart.
Sip the bitter skullcap; gnaw the green rind of sleep.
Tulsi acts upon the liver, deep like a bite in the throat.
In the day garden of sleep, I splay like a cat in lavender
lobes, all soft leaf, all sharp stem, all ants attended.