not quite a word, a hum for sure
—the effort of some sort of understanding?

1.02 Daisies

Aria Aber

Yes or no, yes or how I loved
to skip through papery monsoons
during my youngest days, before
wild chicory moistened the soles
of my hot feet—a slit for yes,
ant hill for no. I know: the pixelated
mush of my belonging to this day
a reverberation of that game—
yes or no, yessa-no, desayuno.
Strawberries and cream. My mind
so well-suited to thrust and thrust
into all I must forget. Once, I was
at a border, inhabiting a body which I
bordered, where I fingered
daisies, graphite, molasses,
broth—there, I dreamed of home
until I coaxed non-grata
to the bridge, until until. All this life
to gather courage to own & call
a thing a name. It came
in brackets, it came brackish:
yes, I was touched. I was a child.
There’s papyrus stretched across
the frame dividing the I of
then from the I of now: Oh,
I cannot save her now.


Clayton McCracken's video "Hold" elucidated confusion and technological miscommunication, which reminded me of the ways in which we are limited, despite our ubiquitous means of connection and availability; but the way the sampled voices melt into a momentary dance tune evinces that out of chaos and mistakes, beauty and creativity can emerge. It's an ancient law. The sample of "yes or no" immediately struck a cord with me, because as a child, I would seek answers through obsessive, child-like rituals - my life was ordered into yes or no questions. The poem operates on the same confused, childlike and musical logic as my childhood obsession.
—Aria Aber


Aria Aber was raised in Germany, where she was born to Afghan refugees. Her work can be found or is forthcoming from The Poetry Review, Best British Poetry, Narrative Magazine, Kenyon Review, and others. She holds an MFA from NYU and is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Ron Wallace poetry fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. Her debut book HARD DAMAGE won the 2018 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and will be published in September 2019.

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