The 2River View 25.2 (Winter 2021)

Marissa Ahmadkhani


Stars form from gas and debris and so do we.
My love, do you remember? The day we walked

through Chinatown, your spacedust fingers laced 
through mine. How I glanced over at you, stopped 

in a shop window, stitched with some age-old sadness, 
your face its own tired galaxy, your flickering 

smile pulling me in. So if we are like the stars, maybe 
we’re in different phases. Your White Dwarf

to my Nebula, our orbits just out of reach. Only now, I wish 
I’d told you. How that last night, with my head 

on your chest, your skin smelled of universe 
and I felt bright in my dying.

When our eyes catch your cheeks bloom vermilion

which would be a good thing, except vermilion 
is made from mercury sulfide. 

That pigmented red will kill you. 
At first you’ll be fine but then time passes,

your muscles turn weak, head foggy 
and senses impaired. Next thing you know 

your mouth tastes of metal and your breath is ragged.
See? This isn’t another love poem. You’re losing 

your vision and your skin is starting to sting. 
So what are we doing? With our hair intertwined, 

your hand holding mine, searching 
for the question I can’t answer.

Marissa Ahmadkhani is pursuing an MFA at the University of California—Irvine. She recently appeared in, where she twice received the Academy of American Poets Prize.

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