Poetry by Shabnam Piryaei

there is no separate survival

twelve, you stood unstartled as
goldfish burst like capillaries
in your plastic water-filled bag.

the soldier, fumbling, dropped
mints into the empty gape
of your bucket, compromised
by the anchor of your linger.


the night they hunted you
from your bed into the water,
zippers chafing—   eels
careening through the ebony—
sowing their garbage-fisted scald,
their elemental theft,
      half drowned
you summoned a wire of light
on the dusty underside of a bench.

all that morning you had been waiting
for the first slow fruit
of a slender apricot tree.

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