Friday 6 January 2023

Five Poems by Miriam Manglani


Dream Lover


She swims in his fiery emerald eyes. 

Wraps fingers around his thick auburn hair. 

She erupts, a volcano in the skies

as his lips part hers, she is his dark mare.  


He comes back when the moon lights the night,

and she wakes up in a panic, fear stricken.

Her mind between his world and hers, alight.  

black shame on her skin makes her heart quicken. 


Plagued by her dreaded unfaithfulness,

her real love holds her quavering body,

stark and bright in its morning nakedness. 

Its silvery lust longs to embody. 


She waits again for moon to light the night,

when her dreams of desire can take flight.



The Big Lice


The fat louse wiggled

between my long fingernail and fingertip,

surrounded by a halo of sun.

I flicked it and launched its chlorinated death

in the camp pool.


My diagnosis was announced right before shower time,

when oversized pink and purple shower caddies —

full of designer shampoo and conditioners,

fancy scented soap, shaving cream, pink electric razors,

and soft sponges — 

made their appearances like debutants.


The degree of fullness of a girl’s caddy —

a measurement of how much we didn’t like each other —

my caddy white and small

with a single bar of Ivory soap,

and all-in-one Suave shampoo and conditioner,

no razor for my long leg hairs.


Their verbal assaults —

I can’t believe you gave us all lice.

That’s just so gross.

This is all your fault.


I looked at them like the big lice they were,

narrowed my eyes,

my smirk escaped.



Falling to New Heights

I watched myself fall
off the wobbly dock,
my friends had pushed
me into the cold lake,
steely as a nickel.  

Fear swam in my eyes,
my hands flailed,
my hair fluttered in the air.

One second felt like a mini lifetime —
to break the still surface of the lake.

The electric shock of the cold water.
My being returned to its home.

I had to grab their two-timing hands 
to climb back onto the dock,
my heavy winter clothing
weighed down with lake water. 

The anger that should have lit me like kindling —
breezed through,
awe took its place.
I felt weightless,
like I could fly.

The world was sharper,
charged with divine current—
it surged in me,
nerves open and alive,
the feeling of being more than 

mere flesh and bones.



Ode to My Breasts

Little buds at first. Nothing much,
until they grew into
bulls eye targets
that stood out,
made me stand out,
to boys who chased me
shouting “get her boobies!”
to men whose stares weighed on them.

But they transformed,

grew into magical milk making machines overnight
they could calm in an instant,
put two crying babies to sleep at once.
A part of me but hardly mine anymore,
they swelled and leaked with the tiniest of cries
and sewed with threads of milk
a timeless mother-child bond.

Retired, their glory days behind them,

they’ve earned their place

close to my heart.


My Father’s Yahrzeit

Every year I visit you.
I search for you in a forest of stones.
I talk to you, but you are soundless.
lichen has grown on your name. 

I search for you in a grave yard.
Your stone feels cold. 
lichen surrounds your name. 
You’ve left a hole in me.

Your stone is cold. 
I feel the shadow of your presence.
The hole you left is healing.
I miss your gentle eyes.

I try to see the shadow of your presence.
I see you in my smile.
I miss the spirit in your eyes.
The sun doesn’t feel as warm.

You had my smile.
I miss knowing you would always be there for me.
The sun feels colder.
I miss hearing your old-fashioned funny sayings.

I miss knowing you would be there for me.
I talk to you, but you can’t reply.
I miss hearing your old-fashioned sayings.

Every year I miss you.


Miriam Manglani lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and three children. She works full-time as a Technical Training Manager. Her poems have been been published in various magazines and journals including Sparks of Calliope, Canyon Voices, Rushing Thru the Dark, and Paterson Literary Review. Her poetry chapbook, “Ordinary Wonders”, was published by Prolific Press.



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