“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 three novels. She is the winner of a PEN/Faulkner Award, the John Gardner Award, a Whiting Award and a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” award, and has been longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. Her work has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship and a Fellowship from ART OMI and has appeared in the New York Times, Granta, Lit Hub, Guernica, BOMB Magazine, and the Los Angeles Review of Books among other places. She has lived in Spain, Iran, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates. She currently splits her time between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana where she Directs Notre Dame University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and is a fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

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