Clade Song 12 left

Clade Song 12

Cheat Day and Congregation Animalia 

As I begin the ascent to my third-floor front door,
takeout in hand, I know tonight won’t be a bore;
our stomachs will not be left bland for
the usual menu of barely seasoned proteins and vegetables,
cooked in light grease,
has been replaced by my decision (for the both of us)
to pig out on Chinese. And I imagine she already has herself
tactfully positioned (despite me being three staircases away),
her puffy mouth rehearsing the words, “Tonight, I will not be conditioned
in the Pavlovian way!”

But the thought of her tiptoes out my mind
as the prickling fumes of hot meat,
spices and vegetables all slathered in thick sauces, escape
from their steamed plastic containers
riling up the nostrils
of other animals in the building.

From behind door five, the hacker’s obese iguanas
stomp the dreadful beat of salivation, and just the thought
of their thinly sliced pink tongues slithering
in and out of their granite lips
forces me to the second floor where
Colonel Frisbee caws his senile song
from his cage in the lounge of twenty-one,
“Damnation! Damnation!
Chinese! In the morning, anus
will beg for ease!

Despite ten servings
stomach feels hollow,
curb your cravings
have more 

Bites too many
make you a sinner
but never let Jesus
fuck with your dinner!”
And before I set foot again on the cold stairwell, 
the tenants of twenty-nine give me my final
farewell. I hear
the curious sniffing of Hegel the cat
who is then joined by the louder, spit-gurgling act
of Heidegger the gray mutt, both pets entwined
for many years in a strange
violently funny camaraderie,
always buggering the sensitive ears of their owner,
a struggling professor of continental philosophy.
One row of sudden barks from Heidegger’s sagging lips
evokes a skin-fluttering shriek from Hegel
and young Dr. Zafar shouts, “You dipshits!
You made me drop my evening bagel!”

And all these voices
filled with food, furiously come
to a simmer,
and envelop me in pineapple shrimp kung-pao chicken
sweet beef and broccoli with- Oh I know I’m not
getting any thinner, but some days the voices of hunger simply cannot be kept at bay!
Allah restrain me!
How long I’ve waited
for this glorious cheat day!

I finally jab and twist the key.
I hear her take off from the edge of the couch.
Seeing the food, little monkey
her ankles wrapped
in red sandal marks.

Clade Song 12 Right

Raza Ijaz is a writer based in Lahore, Pakistan. He is currently at work on his first novel and on a set of pop-culture inspired poems. His poetry has previously appeared in The Aleph Review and The Collidescope. 




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