Sitting One Row Behind a Lyricist

is it courage,
                  the silver that spices
his ear            like a garnish? a medal of freedom, dangling from
pink lobes, swooning
                              like diamonds, a girl’s best friend.
or perhaps the black nail polish,
                              seen casually on
fingernails that graze against hair,
                  that clasp around the handles of
a white vanity bag. it’s a nametag,
the kind I always dreaded                  because
my name looked like            ah-yee-sha
not aye-sha. I think of a captain commanding
his crew.                        on a wooden deck, their
eyes plastered            with admiration,
ragged uniforms dipping into saltwater,
                        and black lips, like cracked wheat,
biting skin into skeletons
                              and drinking blood
out of thirst. Aye-aye, Cap’n. his name is
painless,                        but his nametag is not. it’s plucked from
between molten
                                    sandals, acid that snaps
skin like            bubblegum, faeries            that tunnel
holes in the earth                  to avoid being charred
into bone dust.            such carefree body language. such
pretty skin. I dress him
                                                into a story, and he presses
himself into poems.

Ayesha Asad is a writer and college freshman with an eclectic variety of interests that include painting, cooking French onion soup, and singing. She lives in Texas, writes for her college newspaper, and hosts a radio news show. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Marble Review, Teen Ink, and Skipping Stones, and has been recognized by the Creative Writing Ink December 2019 contest.

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