In the Garden Where the Gorgons Live by Danie Shokoohi

By Danie Shokoohi on November 27, 2018 in Poetry

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



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