Image by Khanya, The Designer

 

Winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2018 Poetry Category

 

and then i step outside my body the way you leave a house when someone is breaking in

 

and in the garden where the gorgons live, the topiary is singing

 

and he says, that didn’t hurt you

 

and my skin slices easy like a persimmon, yes, bruises

like a plum, yes, everything

inside me is soft and bloody, yes,

it hurt me

 

and he calls this, i love you

 

and in the garden where the gorgons live, the stone trees are singing

he loves you he loves you

he will slit your skin and he will live inside you

he will build a birdhouse of your finger bones

 

and he says,

i love you

 

and he says,

why can’t you just let me love you

 

and he says,

shut up and lay still while i love you

 

and then i held pain in both palms like berries and pain was bright and red

and tasted like holly

 

and in the garden where the gorgons live, it is always winter

i am scrubbing the skin off my softness

 

sandstone tongue, basalt stomach, agate webbing of my fingers

 

i will not apologize for each thing i have turned to stone inside me, not

yet, and never

again

 

Danie Shokoohi is a fiction candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison MFA program. Her fiction, poetry, and non-fiction have been previously published in Plain China Press, Vassar Review, Occulum, Hypertrophic Literary, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She was one the winners of the 2017 Ellis Review New Colossus Award. She is the press editor of Half Mystic Press

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