Feature image by Reza Aramesh. Action 143-1, 2015. Black and white print on fiber paper, mounted on archival board and framed in walnut wood. © Reza Aramesh. Courtesy the artist and Leila Heller Gallery.

Even your name
I have doubts about
and about the trees
about their branches, if perhaps
they are roots
and we have been living
all these years underground.

Who has dislocated the world?
and why are birds circling in our stomachs?
Why does a pill defer my birth?
For years we’ve been living underground
and perhaps
on a day in my seventies I’ll be born
and feel that death
is a shirt we all come to put on,
whose buttons we can either fasten
or leave undone…
a man may roll up his sleeves
or he might…

I am
a captive man’s conjectures
about the seasons behind the wall.

Garous Abdolmalekian

Garous Abdolmalekian, born 1980, is an acclaimed young Iranian poet and the author of five poetry books that have been reprinted several times: The Hidden Bird (2002), The Faded Colors of the World (2005), Lines Change Places in the Dark (2008), Hollows (2011), and Acceptance (2015). He is the recipient of the Karnameh Poetry Book of the Year Award (2003) and the winner of the Iranian Youth Poetry Book Prize (2006). Abdolmalekian has also participated in numerous international poetry gatherings, such as the Voix Vives poetry festival in France (2011) and the Merci Poesi Festival in Sweden. His poems have been translated into Arabic, French, German, Kurdish, and Spanish. Abdolmalekian is presently the editor of the poetry section at Cheshmeh Publications in Tehran and the executive editor of publications at the Youth Poetry Office in Iran.

Ahmad Nadalizadeh

Born and raised in Iran, Ahmad Nadalizadeh received his master’s in English literature from the University of Tehran. He is currently a PhD student of comparative literature at the University of Oregon.

Idra Novey

Idra Novey is the author of Exit, Civilian: Poems (The National Poetry Ser.), selected for the 2011 National Poetry Series. Her debut novel Ways to Disappearis forthcoming from Little, Brown in 2016.