Garden Varieties

Momina Mela

all things begin with density—the nettled sorrel
scratches nettlesome in a bulbul’s enchanted
throat, whistles to the nearest Allah-u-Akbar
folding thrice in its pulsing gullet, distinguishing

the dog’s bark from its teeth that gnaw at my
gate daily. my skin spills into the crescendo
shriek of a wintered laali, small patron of

shudder pleads the fescue for a hustle,
flashes a spiked yellow eye at my window.
my mouth tarred black from green cardamom

blows chill into a distant pond. a snail slimes
away from its conch, a sinewy scoop in
bluegrass opens a new chisel to let

evening inquire the state of these proceedings.                   


nazr loops its slinky neck around the
ceiling fans and balusters of our house.

singed in red chilli lattice, latticework edges
into the mouth of a devil who smokes rosemary

and blows out rings of thyme. featured in a
wingless buzz, the floorboard tilts mahogany to
chant Allah-u-Akbar, swelling thirty-three times.

its heavenly rot rattles our skins, boomerangs
evil back to eye. mosquitoes weigh blood in
their bent proboscis, silt freshens for the tiny

promiscuities of buds. it’s their time to be alive.
the dog noses a ilium mangle disqualified from
stalk. all things travel in variations of salt, these

persecutions stain daybreak like massacre.