Dena Rod

the hare won

it shouldn’t surprise me: slim trim
anderson taking another swing
below belt where he knows it hurts

how easily the words that sting and cut
as they fall from his veneered facade,
as he is all coiffed
and sharp angles

it shouldn’t surprise me.
but it does, rocks me harshly

all laughter echoing and surfing through time
forever bloated by fear they will become
the same, adipose stranded, unable to turn over
when a vehicle called democracy comes
barrelling down that highway

because in the right places
i too am an obese turtle
my shell broadening into
a sphere detested by
those who don’t know
what it’s like to wear my skin

fed over generations, worn
before by bodies who
share my hanging belly in the hot sun
that can’t slide off my skin
like a snake to make more
space for myself.


dining curbside

we crave generous spaces to press our bodies against each other and have our cocktails overflow with real American cherries grown from our forefathers’ trees. yet new infections curve us up into that next tier and we are commanded to peel ourselves out of bar booths. yet still we drink deeply from leaking fluted glasses and still we sit perched on chairs treading water compelling us to cross our legs, and ask our masked servers for another newly pressed napkin. what a bold action to sop up the water we swim in.

yet all i see are corpses filling deep grates and large planes filled and weighted by the expectation of the next generation, the ones who can no longer plan futures or find places
of belonging or take courageous action anymore.

and then we all presume shock
when some named action like lockdown appears.


go fund yourself

wake up, get my phone
which draws me like the moon.

it’s a dangerous new day as i scroll
through each story flashing
a desire to leave consciousness.

we witness cries
through this portal every day
hearts to heads that cry for funds
to push our evolutions which
breed disquiet
for others who do not understand.

but we refuse to bend, push each moment
against moonlight without it
watering down our features.

you didn’t know the sparkling bits
of us until you sank low
to the ground, thought us artifice
until our corpses proved to you

how real we were

still are.
have been.

under your fingers, you felt
the house music smashing the
disco ball to the ground

look down, see the broken car
windshield glass mixed with dirt.
humbly crossed wet fear dripping
like a newborn miracle.

i know
my tongue rusted against time
but cool liquid loosened me.
you can hear me now.

0-24Described by The Bold Italic as a “verbose advocate,” DENA ROD is a queer Iranian American poet and essayist who focuses on illuminating their diasporic experiences. Their first poetry collection, Scattered Arils, is forthcoming from Milk & Cake Press in May 2021. You can find more of their work at

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