Preview of Unsaid Six: A Method for Counting Days, by Shabnam Piryaei

a tiny brown heart

drawn on a white wooden table

can tear a windy hole

into the universe

a gill to breathe through

the eggs were dropped from a height into cages, one at a time, and you clenched your breath each time, praying for yolk, for yolk, and not the curled sleeping figures of the unborn.

They were not everywhere.  Strangely, they had all fallen (after colliding with each other and ice cream trucks and sofas and trees) around where calle el mar used to be.  Most were not visibly wounded, but even from a great distance one could sense the undisguisable body configurations of death.

It was only a matter of minutes before the first green flies would arrive, craving monotonously the whites of eyes.  Toward the end of the street, where just yesterday there had been an abandoned lot surrounded by a wire fence that the boys used to climb dustily until someone finally, with a wire cutter, rolled open an entryway, there lay one enormous car tire, three dogs, and heavy glass shards that looked almost edible in the sunlight.  There was, of course, no fence in sight.

One of the dogs, a black labrador, lay on its back, a stick of painted wood stuck partway into its belly.  From the dog’s open stomach spilled out three tiny puppies no longer glistening.  Another of them, eyelids glued together, lay partly smashed and completely hidden beneath the black rubber tire.

On the news I heard a man say “cadaver dogs” as if it were a breed of dog, some long-established category whose meaning is as instantly identifiable as car, or rain, or night.

strange how the waters can be parted

not for passage just

a cleaving, a fierce disquiet

a slow slow

tornado

drilling through the tops

of your feet

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