Poetry from Ashia Ajani

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang

Why Did You Kiss Me Before I Put On My Cocoa Butter

Do not pick at the pieces of honey trapped in my baby hairs from a facemask done the night before. Leave it.

I have consumed so much lipstick from mug after mug of yerba mate. My insides are purple. There is a joke about my gums, dark, dark girl gums, in there somewhere.

Can you taste it? The sorrow. I could call it melted beeswax, cayenne pepper or incense ashes. But it just is.

I finally tell a man with pretty skin about my trauma and the only words of comfort he can offer are “damn”. “Damn” indeed.

We eat mangoes in the twilight. I mean, we eat each other in the twilight. Different forms of greed bending into each other.

I do not want another body in my house. I am back where I should be. One sock off.


Ashia Ajani is a rising junior Environmental Studies major at Yale University. She is the co-president of WORD: Spoken Word at Yale. She is a Minor Disturbance Denver Youth Poetry alumni and took 4th place at the 2014 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. She was awarded honorable mention in the National Young Arts Foundation’s poetry section in 2015. She has been published in Rigorous Magazine and The Hopper Magazine. She  released her first chapbook, We Bleed Like Mango, in October

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