Out of the blue

by Babo Kamel


—after Marc Chagall


A bouquet of appetites tossed from the bride flies into your closed palm. It’s impossible
but there they are. Cornflowers, hydrangeas, and delphinium. Blue hunger arrives like rain,
seeps into your skin as a backward bleed, riding your veins bareback every time you feed it.
You’ve been here before when surprise morphs into norm, repeats itself like pale blue
acceptance in every room. It’s the year’s new color and you rid yourself of every vestige of grey.
On the sidewalk your discards wait for pick up like overweight girls on a Saturday night. Like so
many of us believed we were, fitting into the shape of loneliness, as if it were custom made for
every curve. When I was twelve, a boy leaned over where I sat on the curb, stretched my navy
t-shirt away from my neck and snickered at my chest like it was some kind of dirty joke. The
type my mother told me to ignore. But now each mammogram, means praying to god
sitting in the small aqua room, waiting for results. I pick up a d├ęcor magazine, flip through the
photos of so and so’s latest room design in indigo and teal. On the wall, the blue horse in a
painting nods his approval. One eye toward the future, while the other winks.

As a dual citizen, Babo Kamel (her/she) splits her time between Montreal, Quebec and Raleigh, North Carolina.  Her work has appeared in the Greensboro Review, Lily, CV2, Poet Lore, and Best Canadian Poetry 2020, among others. She is a Best of the Net nominee, and a seven-time Pushcart nominee. Her chapbook, After, is published with Finishing Line Press. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson’s Program for Writers. Her book, What The Days Wanted, is published with Broadstone Books. Find her at