Danie Shokoohi

Of Longing

Write this of longing:
his mouth stopped here some nights
but mostly, it took the train.

Forget anticipating the whistle.
Do not remise the choo-choo.

You think yourself a wild thing
Your bruised left breast,
back-bitten nails so they would not
hurt him.

You are not this woman, you
look nothing
like her.
She waits on platforms, and

The railroad cannot touch you.

Of longing say, perhaps,
you do not feel it.

Of longing say, perhaps,
you were not yourself
––beside yourself
looking in
at your self long.

Think, not, of him.

It was not him, after all.
It was his mouth who stopped, sometimes,
before he took the train.



Letters to East Lansing

Pat says, the fortune only comes true if you swallow the paper before you eat the cookie
and so, I make my belly a planter where lavender sprigs can grow.
I take my tail between my teeth and this way, teach myself how to be whole.

If happiness is a light in a dark room, I’ll open every window and light
every birthday candle stub I ever blew out wishing I could touch my skin to the flames.
I will stop treating my body as something to be punished for each time
it felt better to be loved than to be whole.

Pat, I am sitting on the living room rug with the fortune cookie bag between my knees

and this is for every letter to East Lansing that said I would start to heal tomorrow.

I am rolling my fortunes into pills.
I am taking my future down like medicine.



Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf-Girl?

They name her jaw, softness. pearl.
crushed velvet.
            she lips marrow, does not break bone.

Wolf-Girl snaps cicadas from the air,
crunching blood-paint from hard chitin.
Her palette is brown muzzle, muddied
shins, rivulets down a hillside.

Her song is poltergeist, bending
the full red moon to one knee.
Her coat is woven fussy with ghosts.
She makes tea of twigs and moss
and forest debris.

They name her eyes, danger. dark moon.
first snow.
            all the better to frighten you away.

Wolf-Girl loved in red, saw it
once on a girl with a picnic basket,
the red ribbon tied around her white throat.
Loves can be made from smaller things:

a gentle hand on coarse fur, a jam tart,
the quickest path through the forest, a deer’s
bloodied flank. Love lasted through
the leanest belly, the hardest winter,
the last pelt on the trapping line.

They name her love, legend. hunger-born.
            every longing born first from the tongue

A red girl reads too many books
where love is best with its
belly cut. A red girl walks the forest,
finds small game offerings left on tree stumps,
pretends these love letters look like threats.

Wolf-Girl limps quiet on pine needles. One
haunch knows the kiss of a hunting knife.
She leaves sigils clawed on bark, a portent,
a warning only a red girl would know.

They name her belly, grandmother.
            every forest path leads to her.



Danie Shokoohi is a fiction candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison MFA program. Her fiction, poetry, and non-fiction have been previously published in Plain China Press, Moonchild Magazine, Vassar Review, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She is the press editor of Half Mystic Press, where she publishes monthly articles on how music intersects with things such as lake mermaids, Iranian activism, and curmudgeonly spaniels.