Epithalamion Sealed in Wax


It is true the two eastern tiger
swallowtails have hours
to play tag, their wings constellate

the needle-point minute of their brief
life while they carry a bird’s
name to death like a kite butters

through the same wind and unlatches
the stem of an acorn—now loose
as it pebbles off the roof landing

near your big toe. Fairuz plays on
repeat, the weather swells a rare
mist, it is almost as if shy jinns

empty their cupules filled with small
pearls of sweat or sterling
smirks as they spot a yellowing leaf

peeking under a magnolia
which they could use to sail
puddles. Your hand brushes my prickly

thigh, I am made of powdered sugar.
You pull me inside,
red fish pulse in my waist.

The rest is wrists, hip bone, spine, lips
while Fairuz plays
on repeat, I cave into the sea-salt of your

armpits, I carve kisses
in the condensed space
behind your earlobe as my legs

fold over your shoulders, our fingers
origamied together.
The rain hardens, blueish pebbles

waltz on the roof. Afterwards,
my head on your chest, I
count your birthmarks and the Spanish moss

curtains over a patient carnation
we call earth’s inner core.
When I die, I will be mummified

with only my spooned heart left inside
like a fig wasp sealing in
your radiant plume, eyelashes, your hued

letters. The chambers of my heart are
infinite and many.
I fasten us beyond the last breath

and exempt us from death. Exempt us
from death. I make it so
raindrops braid our names into oceans.

Zuleyha Ozturk Lasky