Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad


Drinks from the stream every toxic thing, every
clear drop bouncing with the venom of being,

it receives. Sips broken skin, pools the poison
between its lips. Holds in its folds the residue

of abuse, the crystal beads of inherited disease. Within
the meaty grasp, pulls apart spheres of hurt, purges,

faithful devoted piece, rinses the entire bodyweight
clean of its contaminants. On the right side always, selects

bites nutritious, offers all of it to the rest of this. Stores
in its pockets packets of fuel, supplies quickly each

burst for a dispirited human. In its shelves, keeps
more supplements if you need them. Among its few

hundred functions, assembles the units that rush to seal
gashes. And if itself turns blemished or damaged,

regenerates then its own tissue, rebuilds to original, this
blushing purple muscle with a shade similar to heart.

This is why we Iroonis liken our most precious to it,
why an adored companion is swiftly nicknamed with it,

a darling who accepts our pathogens for the purpose
of ridding them, who delivers to us a handful of fire

when we can no longer bear the tedium, who becomes
the vessel that weaves wounds left open, who comes

born already with a mechanism for self-restoration.
A firm band of unwavering cells spongier than bone.

Just look what happens to liver when you remove the I and
replace with an O. Replace with O. Replace with O. Oh.


Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Pinch Journal, and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge and Painted Bride Quarterly. She is the poetry editor for Noble / Gas Qtrly, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. She currently lives in New York and practices matrimonial law.