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Life in the Doorway, 2017

Amee Nassrene Broumand

Dragonflies flirt across the rouge moon.
The Gorgon curls closer,
a sea basket woven from ten thousand arms. Epaulets ripple, polishing
tin. Camouflaged as hydrants, periscopes stare
up from sewers and caverns. My father fled Iran

for this?
Drop an egg, hot, into the foil—
a crown for later, a refrigerated spider, a crawling Ayatollah, slow.
Gods are tarantulas, ready to kettle and prey upon anything smaller
than a world. The old king crouches in the corner
and grins
and grows, becoming
a haystack. See him towering over the field, lit by the harvest

What happens there—
does the universe break? I hesitate at the boundary
of the living room. Rain upon the glass—

amoebas huddle in luminescent grey,
catching the pith of the sky. Impassive
here the haunted become haunters
and eat the face of the sun.

Nursery songs feed on murk, feeding in turn the knight-myth.
Twitching forth from beneath the bed, the eyeless face

of a newborn.

space break


I sulk at the edge, an ambivalent sunflower.
Before me, the sea exists
as a brick wall painted with waves.

Children scamper in the dunes.
The brick ocean extends to the vanishing point. I long
for a sledgehammer, for an x-ray eye.

They say the universe disintegrates into a vacuum on the other side of the wall.
I listen for a roar, but there’s
nothing. On this side, there’s also nothing
real—no birds, no fish, no whale-mouths.
Mechanical crabs roam the imitation sand.

On some mornings, we find heaps of dry humans on the shore
shorn of their womb-sack body-shells. Notes pinned to their skulls say they are
gifts for the seagull king, for the bonfire.

There are no faces in the daytime, only masks on stilts crowding the streets.
Fishermen haunt the beach at sunset, calling cadence for unseen troops.

Back at the hotel, leaders thick as lead somehow twist
beyond the reach of the broom—
terrible spiders gurn in the corners, feeding upon

weasel-men, toad-men, footed eels. Along the boardwalk, plastic shells try
to suggest starlight on the fake waves. Dust whispers upon dust, sounding

almost like water.

Amee Nassrene Broumand has poems in Burning House Press, Word Riot, Rivet, Right Hand Pointing, The Ghazal Page, Modern Haiku, and elsewhere. The daughter of an Iranian immigrant, she was born near Los Angeles and homeschooled in the Pacific Northwest. She has a B.A. in Philosophy and English from Boise State University, where she tutored Introduction to Logic for six semesters, wrote a senior tutorial on metaphor for the Philosophy Department, and graduated summa cum laude. A self-taught poet, she has written over 3,500 poems and has just begun to publish.