“Dear Body” by Shireen Madon

Shireen Madon


Body, be who you need to be. Brown girl in an orange dress.
Red macaw in a canopy. Be flock. Be the oldest living thing
rooted beneath the language of things. The cypress your mother
called Sarv-e Abarkuh. Be a life less heavy with history.
Be the little boy who skips school to sell tea on the street. Be a box
of pears clothed in gold paper. Be something more tart. Lime. Be mouth,
be kingdom. Wear something made of infinity. Be sunset
over a silk Zardosi sea. Be the young girl who survived a drowning
by her loved ones. Be acid. Be sailed. Be colony. Be endangered
and dangerous. Wear your own damp skin. Body, be something
useful. Be dam and river the desert like blue streamers.
River the village like the saddest epic. When you lay in the street
with blood pooling around you, be memory. Be at the center
of living. If nothing else, be a shadow of the thing.

from Rattle #55, Spring 2017


Shireen Madon: “We live in a world with two faces—one borderless and one increasingly bordered. We build walls and prop up tent cities. We forget the lessons we’ve learned—or maybe it’s that we forget to share them. Poetry is a way to map our experiences. A shared navigation system. I write to be less lost.”

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