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A Poem by Rae Gouirand

A Poem by Rae Gouirand

Author: Poetry Editor

January 4, 2017

This week, a poem by Rae Gouirand.


Ghazal With Your Mouth


The words I used changed your mouth
even as mine was changed. Your mouth

closed and opened and left its word abroad,
cast empty breath. The breath changed your mouth.

The words hung in the air above the bed
in the dark. Your eyes closed, changed. Your mouth

hesitated to say what it said in the dark,
on my chest, and we changed. Your mouth

took my mouth for a walk in the dark.
My mouth freed from content, changed, your mouth

tried to say things and didn’t
say anything. Words changed your mouth

and your eyes and your whole self sinking,
sinking in listening, catching, changed. Your mouth

became yours again and mine became mine.
Neither of us changed. What changed? Your mouth’s

shape, the shape of the kiss, the length,
its kind of vowel. I breathed, I changed, your mouth

slowed to find me and hold me there,
to my word: held, changed. Your mouth.


RAE GOUIRAND’s first collection of poetry, Open Winter, was selected by Elaine Equi for the Bellday Prize, won an Independent Publisher Book Award and the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, the Audre Lorde Award, and the California Book Award for poetry. Her work has appeared most recently in American Poetry Review, ZYZZYVA, Crazyhorse, VOLT, The Brooklyner, The Rumpus, FANZINE, Beloit Poetry Journal, and the anthology Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation. She is currently at work on her third collection of poems and a work of nonfiction.

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About: Poetry Editor

Lambda Literary's Poetry Spotlight is currently closed for submissions.

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