Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, a healing balm—my ass.
I’m tired of praise words for a washed-out herb, of its violent
violet-blue hue more akin to a day-two bruise, all the essential
oil this and medicinal magic that, when it’s most arrogant
of all mints with that smug undertone of citrus notes, nothing
but a cupcake contaminant and a useless bath additive. Just leave
the purpling to the lilacs and orchids, keep the potpourri jasmine
and rose hips, it’s already in our salads and dressings, our soaps
and decorations, in my lotions and perfumes, no one mentions
its flowers clustered on spikes so vicious, the root rot from fungal
infection, the nausea and skin rashes, the burning sensation
in your eyes, a row of flames licking your throat—my allergic
darling, I am so sorry for how they are lured by its sweeping fields,
stretching from summer to autumn, inked as if with a glittering mix
of stars and the dusk of a snowy evening, slippery like plush,
opulent like velvet, it’s no wonder sometimes the sky above them
deepens its blue to mimic that resplendence; but just relax, steady
your head here on my lap, my lave—I mean, my love, as we
await medical attention. Let my palm pushing your hair behind
your forehead over and over be the stress reliever. From now
on your sweet breath unobstructed, my only fragrance.
Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad’s poetry has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Waxwing, and Asian American Writers’ Workshop, among others. She won the 2019 LUMINA La Lengua contest and the 2016 Pinch Literary Prize, and is a Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee. She lives in New York where she practices law.