Bared Bones

Oxford Writers' HouseFeatures2018JuneBared Bones

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Bared Bones

Bared Bones


The day we met,

I wondered how many vertebrae

I would need

To stand straight

and measure up to you.


You said 5’7” is tall already

But when I’m sleeping

I want you to cut the measuring tape two inches shorter

and whisper:

You know I can jump higher.


The day you set me on fire,

You cried

Tears spilling out onto open flame,

Even though I told you

I like feeling every bone burn.


Why not burn with me?

Feel your heart flutter outside your chest,

and fill its cavity with kindling

So you can go where love needs you

Without feeling hollow.


Feel your heart flutter outside your chest,

and fill its cavity with kindling


The day we were bodies

Your fingers traced every scar,

Without touching on the sword fights

That preceded them.


So find the hurt now,

Weigh it down under your foot

As you slip me out of my thick skin

To find a skeleton made of wishbones

and a heartbeat timed to hummingbirds.



Yasmin Rafiei is an Irani-Canadian writer, a 2017 Rhodes Scholar, and a student at the University of Oxford. At times memoir and at others manifesto, Rafiei’s poetry is scattered ash — evidence of a life burning voraciously and a subversion of historical burial of stories like hers: of dislocation, of femininity, and radical imaginaries. Her poetry navigates different terrains, from politics to identity to personal trauma. At the heart of Rafiei’s work is a critical and compassionate voice advocating for empathy.

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