To Forget
It’s a blessing, isn’t it? To be able, days at a time, to forget what we are. - "Blood Honey," Chana Bloch
    Two friends in two weeks, this time. Heart attacks, both under thirty. You scoop me up from the airport with an armful of calla lily, hydrangea, purple starburst —the last from a spontaneous wedding, the florist said. I need a shower, coffee, a good cry and my keys, forgotten in the old house. Will have to stay with you a while, secretly glad for this little bracket of time, minor threats of worry, creeping minutia— if I've parked your car badly, the ex-girlfriends, the card game your parents like with the unpronounceable name, my menstrual blood on your carpet, even the walruses shoulder to shoulder on ice. The alarm wakes us both early into this dull hangover, how distinctly not good we feel right now, into the head rush of actually waking, temporary privilege of anxiety, novelty of detail, reaching past you and forgetting to listen, just a moment, for your pulse.     Shiksa Summer of saltwater pools along the ocean, where I try to explain mikvah — blood, how they call me niddah and you, a shiksa. Your necklace of silver wings, forearms golden from six weeks of Sister, cover yourself. The reunion shot—you in short sleeves, no hejab, a beer in one hand and me in the other. The summer you learn shayne meydele while I practice azizam, eshgham. Where we're never named forbidden, only just how we touch each other. Summer, where when we cuddle after and I curl my feet into the soles of yours, we are treyf and haram at the very same time.     Last Dinner At Your Parents, For Now We drive to the inlet at golden hour. There's a rainbow, and we take it as a good sign. That and the frogs, cheering so loud outside the dark column of your parents' window. Baba ab dad. Sara anar dad. It's easier to say pomegranate, hyacinth in Persian. To say it burns me but not ice cream. Turtle is easier to say than frog. It is easier to say a lot of things than can I take a picture of your passport, where do I hover while you hand over your credit cards and ID to your parents, while you purr at your old cat for the last time. What does that mean? I keep asking. That just means kitty. It just means cat. I know seven sounds for cats now in Persian. Also, how not to say testicle. That too. It's important to laugh. We make a lot of jokes about the Messiah, and we laugh. Don't go to jail for something stupid. Make it good. It will be the kilogram of quinoa in your suitcase. It will be the rainbow on your keychain. Don't make me call and say I'm your tattooed Jewish cousin. I start counting twelve hours ahead, how many times your parents call you back, say Khodahafez, how long it takes for your dad to call you on the way down from the apartment — someone in Iran wants electronic cigarettes, how long it takes for him to drop them over the balcony into your waiting hands, the frogs in chorus, your dad holding the phone to his ear while you look up and catch the light.
Leah Horlick is a writer and poet from Saskatoon. A 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, her work has appeared in GRAIN, Plenitude, Poetry Is Dead, So To Speak, and online at Canadian Poetries and The Collagist. Her first collection of poetry, Riot Lung (Thistledown Press, 2012) was shortlisted for a 2013 ReLit Award and a Saskatchewan Book Award. She lives on Unceded Coast Salish Territories in Vancouver, where she co-curates REVERB, a queer and anti-oppressive reading series. Her next book, For Your Own Good, is forthcoming from Caitlin Press in spring 2015.