Raqs Sharqi

by Joshua Gage

My belly is an ocean
between the shores
of my choli and my skirt.

The moon of the doumbek
moves my body,
swelling me into tides.

The men who toss money
and clap in rhythm
are ships waiting to be seized.

I will rock them on
my waves until they sink
beneath the reflection of stars.

Joshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Cleveland, OH. His chapbook, Deep Cleveland Lenten Blues, is available from Deep Cleveland Press, and his first full-length collection, breaths, is available from VanZeno Press. He is a graduate of the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a penchant for Pendleton shirts, rye whiskey and any poem strong enough to yank the breath out of his lungs. He stomps around Cleveland in a purple bathrobe where he hosts the monthly Deep Cleveland Poetry hour and enjoys the beer at Brew Kettle.

He says: "I think Shakespeare would win because Sappho would consider the fight itself, like all war, childish and beneath her."
He also adds that this poem was inspired by this piece by the very talented Desiree Isphording.

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