Olive—Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Should we plant

a daughter,

we must call her Olive


For I want her skin

to rip easily, to bare

a body full in flesh


A fruit that swears to

her ancient history,

and honors her mother’s ethnicity


I will hold her face,

when her eyes drip with

a curing liquid, an oil

like satin, glistening on my



Brows and lashes,

exposed in semi-ripe colors,

muscles heavy with flavor;

her center raw

and unrefined


Her hair like heavy leaves

poised to forgive

the men that will

tear each strand

from proud roots


Her peace coursing

through the branches

of her steady veins,

swimming beside the current

that flees her serrated heart


A man will paint her

from the yards of an asylum,

and she will twist and curl

to his nature to bring forth

his camouflaged stars


She will convert her

bitterness to become bearable,

fermented to a mix of

acids for the sake of survival


Before I met you,

I called her seven times,

like a prophecy:

a token of my spiritual rebirth


We must call her Olive,

so I can fall in love again

with the dance of your

unready tongue

when you breathe

your daughter’s name

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