And Suddenly, I Existed In A World Where She Did Not by Shelby Khatami

She was strawberries, little half-crowns of half-eaten heads,

pink and furred, crowned in green.

She was roses, wild tangles of thorns that

blackberries could only dream of,

pinked petals facing skyward.

She was smooth-shelled snails,

creatures emerging after the rain,

she crawled with them in the wet-smelling Earth.

She was rusty revolvers and loose bullets,

carried separately, halved-open and placed on the tongue.

She was redwood trees,

planted roots and towering heights,

burnt-out hollows from self-lit fires

She was locked doors and sediment-layered eyes,

half-moon smiles only half-tangible,

gaze hard and sharp and painfully tender.

She was round-bodied laughter,

wide and vast as broad leaves,

giving sunlight rather than receiving.

She was wet clothes, hosed-off-vomit,

lake-shit-water, ocean-salt-water, piled in corners.

She was the language of stars,

they danced for her, coalescing-crashing

into a tile-bathroom floor,

stilling in the marrow of her cracked sternum,

star-tears welling with the bloody cut on her head.


                      They looked on from the skies as she stopped breathing in the ambulance.

Shelby Khatami


Shelby Khatami is from Sacramento California, she's currently a Junior at NAU studying English with a certificate in creative writing. She spends her free time baking, making art, and making sure her plants don't die. She plans to move to Oregon after graduation and obtain her MFA in creative writing at the University of Oregon.

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