self-portrait as loneliness

by Ashley Hajimirsadeghi


We meet outside some grungy Taco Bell, somewhere
in between Harlem & Chinatown, at one a.m., smoking
& laughing & writing love sonnets to Hestia. I can tell
you haven’t stopped smoking all night, lips lined with
oil slicks & a constellation of ashes smeared across
your ruddy cheeks. It begins to rain. Our cigarettes
are snuffed out, a sour taste on the back of my tongue.
I wish we were still kids, tying stones to our ankles,
lying in the water at the shallow end of the creek
behind your house. You told me the delirium couldn’t
touch us there, we could keep floating, only feel the
chilled water lap against our skin. We’d dance on the
New York subway, whirling around the poles,
feeding the Penn Station rats Boston cream donuts &
dollar pizza slices. Wherever you go, don’t forget me.
You drop your cigarette on the street, drag it back
& forth with your heel. You shoot me a crooked, almost
bittersweet smile, flashing yellow stained teeth. 
The oil looks smeared, a cascade of blues and purples, 
a hint of green. I go home, lie on the burgundy velvet couch, 
blankly stare up at the glow in the dark star stickers. I light 
another cigarette—I think I’m lonely.



Ashley Hajimirsadeghi’s work has appeared in/is forthcoming from Mud Season Review, Rust + Moth, After the Pause, and The Shore, among others. She was a Brooklyn Poets Fellow, and attended the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute. Her website is




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