ghazal for sunday afternoons

M.P. Armstrong

if you want to live forever, every seven days there will be a garden that you cut:

weekly tsunami of dimpled strawberries, fleshy tomatoes, bush-broccoli to cut.


i love you, blood, crying for the caress of knives like a baby bird, & i love you, mouth,

hot & possessive as children’s sunburned digits carving into plum pits, so i do cut.


my body writhes like a mass of greens, collared & fried, flanked by butter blades. it is formless, 

the child of seventeen generations, heaves on a paper plate of women who cut.


i pinch an unripened green bean off its vine every time i breathe. in every movement of

my back, straightening like a psalm, i conquer a city. i leave a few whole, a few cut.


my mind tangles. i am winter peaches, skins balled up into crushed velvet & shoved inside

the dripping center. i chase the cart, barreling miles ahead. catch, throw. live, die. glue, cut.


if you want to live forever, you should move more slowly: lemon zest here & bell pepper

skin there. but i can’t allow it. i am too restless, collapsed around my seedcore. too cut.

About the Author

MP Armstrong is a disabled queer writer from Ohio. They are the author of two poetry chapbooks: who lives like this for such a cheap price (Flower Press) and the truth about the sky (Selcouth Station), a reader for Prismatica Magazine, and an editor for Fusion and Curtain Call magazines. Their work is published or forthcoming in Qwerty, bed zine, and Luna Negra, among others. Find them online @mpawrites and at mpawrites.wixsite.com/website.