Three Poems

by Shamala Gallagher

"Ikebang" by  Ernesto Santiago  |  ISSUE THREE

"Ikebang" by Ernesto Santiago ISSUE THREE



Brown & white I grew up with tradition
as the longing for sugar
in an addict’s three a.m. mouth.

How a teenage mouth thrills
with sugar in absence.

When you read this I want it
to be like insatiable April

when you are sick
on nights of missing,

missing in the long grasses by the bank,
frogs & bugs night-stinging
the edge
of the city....

How a teenage mouth thrills
with sugar in absence....

How once at the train
depot in Poona, a wild hog
ran by, & I was stoned
and nineteen with my cousin.....

handful of seed and whatever

spring you small-fevers age / you sweat-sheets
and long light / I am tired of the wrecked
world / here the day like awe-widened eyes /
here the blossoms insistent / the itch
in the eyelids insistent /

I don’t mind the reeking of death /
don’t mind the entrancing rich soil /
which is years of blazing-out bodies

I don’t mind the wrinkles that
roost in the skin / or the draining of sun
from the organs / spring you small-fevers age

predawn, anthropocene

it is the color of streetlamps outside,
maddening bird-talk & porch-lights
on the red-brick public housing (again)
porches across the street, spring is still too
chilly for the street to be mine, pollen caught
in my hair, let my hair be the color
of a tangle of dirt. when I do not
know the neighbors after nearly
a year “because” they live in projects
—scatter the thrift-store bought glasses
from the table like angry cats, sink
& bolt & predawn hassle, & let
the imagined body break. take
the real body, look hard
at where the neighbors live,
look at the neighbors & go outside


Shamala Gallagher’s poems and essays appear in Poetry, Black Warrior Review, The Rumpus, West Branch, The Offing, and elsewhere. She is a Kundiman fellow, a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, and a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia.