my mouth is
my teeth taste of
i’ll know that i’m
i’ll be wearing dusk
& Dickinson’s stanzas;
my flesh will be sticky with
do not undress me
i’ll search for my
pull my grey string out
of a dumpster’s jaw
if i cannot
find my mother,
i’ll stick my
protruding stomach, &
i will be born neon,
for years, i will curl
my tongue around
swallow their oozing slime,
let their salt tint my teeth
my growl becomes withered wind
& my body,
a faded ember,
i’ll know that i’m
Nadia Farjami is a poet and high school student from Southern California. Nadia's work has been recognized by The New York Times, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Polyphony LIT, The Youth Poet Laureate Competition, Hollins University, and more.
"I wrote this poem because I’ve always pondered about life after death. It would be quite ironic and fascinating if umbilical cords acted like magical vessels, steering us into alternate existences."
Interview With The Poet:
Cathexis Northwest Press:
How long have you been writing poetry?
I’m fairly new! I’ve been writing poetry for about two years.
Can you remember the first poem you read that made you fall in love with poetry?
Yes! This might be cliché, but Emily Dickinson’s “Wild Nights—Wild Nights! (249)” ignited my hunger for poetry. I was fascinated, not only by her depiction of desire but also by her use of punctuation, especially dashes.
Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?
Currently, my favorite classic poet is Sylvia Plath. I’m obsessed with her poem, “The Moon and the Yew Tree.” The maternal and paternal symbolism blended with religious imagery in this poem always leaves me pondering. My favorite contemporary poet is Sholeh Wolpé, and I especially adore the rawness of her poem, “No Apple Tress in This Paradise.”
Can you share for us a little bit about your writing process? Any specific rituals that get you in
I try to put my “poetry brain” on regardless of where I am; anything I observe can be the seed for a new poem. I write a list of ideas on my phone and consult them whenever I want to begin a new piece. As for rituals, I love to listen to music and drink tea while I write.
How do you decide the form for your poems? Do you start writing with a form in mind, or do you let the poem tell you what it will look like as you go?
I’m spontaneous. I let the poem tell me what form it wants.
Any advice for poets who have yet to find their voice?
You’ll probably alternate between many voices between you find your favorite—reading will definitely help you refine your voice. Know that your voice on paper can be much bolder than the voice you speak in!
What is your editing process like?
I usually do a quick, general edit before I move onto a specific line-by-line edit. My “specific edits” are different for every poem. For some poems, I only change one line, but for others, I end up rewriting 90% of the stanzas.
When do you know that a poem is finished?
It’s like watching the sunrise; I know my poem is complete when I've colored in all the blanks.