Make Allah Your Lavender
We lay down on the rooftop garden
before the afternoon drizzle. Sprigs
of sage slithered into our sandals.
A pebble struck a fatalii pepper
next to my ear. I knew it’s the boy
with the slingshot. His mother drew
the curtains when she noticed the bed
of spearmint crush under our weight.
Raindrops caused the wayward
butterfly on your torso to quiver.
The graffiti on the alabaster vase,
Make Allah Your Lavender, dissolved
like the faint tattoo on your chin.
A cement truck backfired,
then a lightning scarred the sky,
then a thunder, then a bomb blast
near the bakery. You covered your breasts
with the burqa. That’s God coughing,
you whispered, in shame.
Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena and the co-director of the L.A. Writing Project. He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Music Center’s BRAVO Award. In 2017, three literary journals, Border Crossing, Cahoodaloodaling, and Lunch Ticket nominated Mankerian’s poems for the Pushcart Prize. Recently, Shahé received the 2017 Editors’ Prize from MARY: A Journal of New Writing.