“Moon Song”

A Poem by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi from a New UNICEF Anthology

March 6, 2020  By Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

i dreamt i was drowning in a swell
waters rising
no higher place in sight
grandmother, aunt, uncle: all dead
having expended their capitol of grief early
i felt you breathing next to me
you whom i love
from the space of my childhood
like i have never loved anybody
i instruct myself to get out of the darkness
the humid waters that reek of
corpses shot
standing shoulder-to-shoulder
my life sown to the borders of their death
make no mistake
you who suffer my deaths
the body-count
even though you do not know it
the swell of the waters is
as much mine as it is yours
it only appears as though i am here alone
drowning in the waters of the dead
my dead
who are not yours
though you will have your own
in the morning i walk down the avenue
wind shearing my face
aware that i am writing
a poem unworthy of the dead
who hang from its words
how do i tell you
that i am the child of mortal enemies
this land into which i was born
& that land on which i was raised
the dead faceless in the rusty glow of the moon
i made garlands of the weeping willows
magnolia of childhood
from where i love you
where i made believe
unaware that the life i was living
would become a ghost
old the briberies
the contracts signed
the corrupt dealings
the bodies eliminated
the give me this & i will let you
have thats
i return to tell you
cheeks flushed from the cold
a whole life
become ethereal


Words By is available now from UNICEF Next Generation.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of Fra Keeler (Dorothy, a publishing project) and Call Me Zebra (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers' Award, a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree, the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship in Fiction to Catalonia, Spain. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, GRANTA, Guernica, BOMB, and the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, among other places. She currently teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame. She splits her time between South Bend, Indiana and Florence, Italy.

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