self-portrait as erasure

It was summer in Iowa & our time together

brief: I swallow moonbeams & cola

& love sonnets until I bleed. Bled blue out on

the patio, barefoot & dancing in the rainstorm.

How long will it take to bury me, then uncover

my bones? Someday, I will only exist in memory,

in upside gritty Polaroids, floral perfume stained

on the sleeves of a silk blouse. I untangle myself

from dollar store linens, reach for a cherry cola

at midnight. My mother, the fortune teller, makes

rosaries out of dried baby’s breaths. Taught me

magic tricks, acts of erasure—tonight I sit in a

cold shower and sob, the soap bar skidding down

the drain. I eat glass shards and mounds of

sugar until my tonsils and stomach are bleeding,

rotting, combusting. She burns flowers at dawn in

a rented motel room in Louisiana, tells me don’t trust

men with biblical names. I make ransom letters

out of newspaper obituaries, naked and smoking,

creating fairy tales out of ashes. Ma, you wouldn’t

believe me if I set this place on fire tonight,

threw that cigarette at the velvet curtains, blew

the ashes all over the baroque ashtray, just wait—

ASHLEY HAJIMIRSADEGHI’s work has appeared in Into the Void Magazine and Corvid Queen, among others. She is a poetry reader at Mud Season Review, attended the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute, and was a Brooklyn Poets Fellow. She can be found at