Before You Were / After You Left

Your face is made of ash now.
Before that, a crumpled photograph

disintegrating under some trash heap,
some mountain of refuse. Before that,

in a cheap plastic frame, dented
and begging to be knocked down.

I was going to burn your face,
but when I started to hate your smile

it was June and the fireplace sleeps
in June. I didn't want the trouble

of having to find firewood in June
and waking up that fireplace so

I let it sleep. For one night, I slept
with your face under my pillow.

I slept with your smile
smothered under my dreams.

The tooth fairy did not take your teeth
so I took your picture into the kitchen,

opened the lid of the metal mouth
and you were gone all over again.

In the Fall, Saeed will be joining the MFA Program
at Rutgers-Newark. His poetry has appeared or will
soon appear in StorySouth, Barnwood Magazine,
Zephyrus, Glass, and Umbrella. He hates cashews
with a passion. He loves Toni Morrison's work with
a great deal more passion.

2008 Underground Voices