RR

this age-old choke

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you spend years wondering if this
is the soil you want to shoulder,
the soil you want to be shouldered by.


the paroxysm of wanting a death
does not come to you as pinprick but one
stretched out into idiosyncrasy for
an entire people.
your entire people
wanting
      death. 


theirs
                   or
                                 theirs.

                                             


to kill or
                                                       to die. 


you            know


something                      
must                  die.


the emotion rises within you
like a biting pledge. you want to lay claim.
say your words. shed your
skin but stop the sacrificed dead
from dying. the parched throats
from licking rotten wounds 


of the parasites


to water their children. 


but you can't.


you want to husk the lumbering layers of torment
the ones you wear to school. to have
lunch with your mother. to meet
your friend seconds before the rupture
you have been warned about since childhood
finally flies through your flesh


and nearly takes you.


but you can’t.

Contributor
Perla Kantarjian

Perla Kantarjian is a Lebanese-Armenian writer, editor, literature instructor, and journalist, residing in Lebanon. Her written works have appeared in over twenty-five journals and magazines, including the International Literary Quarterly, NonBinary Review, and Harpy Hybrid Review.

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<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Perla Kantarjian is a Lebanese-Armenian writer, editor, literature instructor, and journalist, residing in Lebanon. Her written works have appeared in over twenty-five journals and magazines, including the <em>International Literary Quarterly</em>, <em>NonBinary Review</em>, and <em>Harpy Hybrid Review</em>.<span id="docs-internal-guid-ffad614c-7fff-8023-7a5d-cdad6ea4f693" style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; text-size-adjust: auto;"></span></p>

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