Arminé Iknadossian’s latest collection of poetry potently explores the many facets of being a woman, including ambiguity, in six sections: “Lover,” “Warrior,” “Queen Mother,” “Goddess,” “Priestess” and “Wise Woman.”
ALL THAT WASTED FRUIT
If Joan of Arc Was Still Alive
She would be sitting by the Mediterranean
at sundown, the sky as red as Campari,
singing, or maybe sharpening her cutlery
on a large stone. She would eat black olives
as she watched the burning sea, its lashes
opening and closing at her feet, its stories rising
into evening before pulling away its long skirt.
A hurricane lamp would cast shadows
on the sand with its bright flame. Some nights
she would talk to the flame, ask it probing
questions as if all flames were related.
Other days she would just laugh, shake her head,
whisper the names of her enemies
while collecting bits of sea glass to rub
between her thumb and forefinger, one for each
word God spoke to her. Green for “daughter”,
brown for “pity”, white for “Orleans”.
But most often, she would talk to the sea,
its curling fingers of foam, its fists of water
like a woman climbing out of ash and bone.
Red is so needy; so eager
to spill onto the floor. A metaphor
that fills cracks in cement after stabbings,
lives in climates of palms, in myriad patterns
where we rub against each other. In my dreams
of coffee-stained moons in Budapest,
the Danube flows under the bridge
where you left me standing in a puddle
after I ashed my cigarette in your dinner;
the blush of your cheek still on my hand.
You taught me that God is red,
like a sky recovering from a dog day in August.
The sound of rain on sizzling rooftops
echoed reminders of you in postscript urgency:
a field of poppies, a cardinal on a bare branch,
a sliced blood orange on a white tabletop,
the color of skin after the slap,
your lips a red guitar.
Featured with permission of the author.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Arminé Iknadossian immigrated to the United States in 1978 to escape the civil war. She is the author of All That Wasted Fruit published by Main Street Rag Press (2018). She earned an MFA from Antioch University where she was awarded a fellowship from Summer Poetry in Idyllwild. After teaching English for 20 years, Iknadossian wrote the chapbook United States of Love & Other Poems (2015). During her tenure as a teacher, The Los Angeles Writing Project awarded Iknadossian a fellowship for their summer residency. Iknadossian is also a founding fellow of the Anaphora Residency for Writers of Color, awarded by Otis College of Art and Design.