Farah Ghafoor


Palate Cleanser

Mealtimes, we are always
angry. Rice sticks to my fingers

and burns. You can’t swallow
but we both chew quickly. The kettle

screams. Sometimes, we pull out the lawn chairs
and watch a neighboring city dance

on hot coals. It is refreshing. That,
we swallow, like cinnamon stuck

in my throat. You call your friends and try
to talk the ache out. I call your friends

and forget their names so I hang up.
I want to distill yesterday’s dinner

so I invite my friends over. Play
matchmaker with meats. Organized

death. When in public, we touch,
our hands a single semicolon,

before looking for other people
in crowds. We dress for outings

to avoid eye contact. We don’t wait
for each other to hold the door.

You should’ve married someone who
would pound your back when you choke

on food. I just sit
and hand you the water.




Farah Ghafoor is a sixteen-year-old poet and a founding editor at Sugar Rascals, a teen literary magazine. Her work is published or forthcoming in alien mouth, Words Dance, and Red Paint Hill, among other places and has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Farah is the recipient of the 2016 Alexandria Quarterly Emerging Artists and Writers Award. She believes that she deserves a cat. Find her online at fghafoor.tumblr.com.