We Want Things We Say We Don’t

he carried the tomato plant around looking for her

even the snow geese are quiet

the world is a handful of dust

even as a young man, his true self was never below the surface

cardamom tea in a pint glass

absolute attention is prayer

the rush I get from sweeping floors

because you weren’t raised to look on the bright side, when you laugh you really mean it

my new hue is here to stay

regret like iodine moving through my veins

caterpillars indifferent to headlines

bruise-colored sunset

side dish of sheepish confession

how my cousin pronounces my name

actual buckets of cucumbers from the harvest

to be born a twin is to wonder what it feels like to be on one’s own

I come uncorked

secret handshake as mnemonic for a place you loved

bring your knee closer and we’ll see what the knee does

I ink my border onto the map of skin





Farnaz Fatemi is a founding member of The Hive Poetry Collective, which produces podcasts and poetry-related events in Santa Cruz, CA. Her book of poems, Sister Tongue, won the 2021 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize selected by Tracy K. Smith, and is forthcoming in August 2022 from Kent State University Press. Her poems and lyric essays have recently appeared in Catamaran Literary Reader, Crab Orchard Review, Grist Journal, SWWIM Daily, Tupelo Quarterly, and several anthologies, including Essential Voices: Poetry of Iran and its Diaspora and My Shadow Is My Skin.

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