In a Beginning

The first fig was a seed

buried in bone dust,

and soaked homelands

watered with famine & drought


this seedling: a man, a woman

interred in the cosm 

of rootlings moved 

through cracked matter


tectonic shifting, layers of russet 

jagged sediment pushing together 

how subcontinents came to existence

descending throughout

rings of time compressed into stacks.

spread forth despite life’s sprouts



the leaves bloom pistils

in vernal tides 

grow impermeable flesh, 

a hardened shell 

for times of trial.


branches fork forward

to where I stand

on roots with no name

bound to my feet.

The Wrong Kind of Flowers

Exotic at fifteen, a chariot tugging us forward and away from home court. The subterfuge. Beaten, broken, or handed down, we smuggled through the cut back. Poppies dry and ready to flame, bloom faded over tinfoil and held, with cones flared. Do you remember when we found those old cans of spray paint? I was teaching taller than my head, resisting my magpie instincts, but still falling, the crux of it all. Biting unwashed berries, tearing the flesh from the rind, the crux of it all. We were hidden amongst the decapitated flowers, severed by stem, detoured from life’s strife. Gourmet like dried roses, peppering my hips with detailed insides. Cramped under my own weight, the car is cold under my chin, the hollow pressed against my neck. I know the taste of fear isn’t mine, deflecting hardened chips against weak joints. My mother would say I breathed in the soul of the devil, leaking in and penetrating the vessel, showing the white flesh underneath. 

Dena Rod is the Assistant Creative Nonfiction Editor for Homology Lit. Through creative nonfiction essays and poetry, Dena works to illuminate their diasporic experiences of Iranian American heritage and queer identity, combating negative stereotypes of their intersecting identities in the mainstream media.