Poem by Kimia Zakerin 





Palms up,
and out, nothing to hold, nowhere to go
but to stay rooted, or stuck, or here.
Okay or not, Westwood lays down
flat on the ground,
so I can run it over.

Like me, the palm trees are not
native, our mothers from other
worlds, but we’re here now, 
and I don’t want to be wrong, 
so I just drive on freeways and
sing songs and start over from zero, 
just like the palms, carried whole
in trucks from Mexico, like me, 
in pieces, in my borrowed bed.

Palms up,
and above me, like skinny pins stuck
to cork, like a forever-plan, like a trail
blazed and mapped and solved. 

What I mean when I talk about
Los Angeles is skyscrapers
sucked back into earth, 
bodies shifting into spitting cars,
and a thousand palms— 
rising fast like a temperature, 
mercury-red, feverish and wrong.

Palms up,
and bent, at the neck, around the
spine, like mine, when I’m pulling
my bag through the security line and
peeling my mind away from the last
time I was here, going home. 

In California I am see-through
as silk and twice as thin, 
like I replaced my own shadow 

and stepped out of my skin
and watched it all happen to me,
the entire misunderstanding
of my life, the loneliness, 
the way a palm tree must
peer down at blonde hair
and tire marks, and wonder how
to get back home, and when.

Palms up,
and open, like a jungle of mouths
with green tongues out, 
ugly and hungry for something to change;
waiting for a map dotted with points, 
or a sudden burst of rain.