Jaz Sufi


I was reptilian when you told me
about her. Soft-scaled. Small
bones. I could feel it, there,
in that place another animal
might have thumbs. The absence
throbbing where evolution
had failed me. Not her, though.
She must have thousands of thumbs.
Hundreds of hands for you to hold.
Me, I don’t even have lids
for my own eyes. I could see
this coming like a season. Spring
inverted. Spring swallowing another inch
of its own tail while somewhere else
a corpse blooms a flower, or two. I didn’t
cry, I couldn’t. Who knows
when I might find another
source of water? There are two
different kinds of mirages—
          inferior & superior—
just as there are two different degrees of blood.
The divergence is a matter of temper-
ature, not conviction. I didn’t know mine
was cold until I was thirsty. I didn’t know
I was thirsty until all the water
was gone.



Jaz Sufi (she/hers) is a mixed race Iranian-American poet and arts educator. She is a Kundiman fellow, a National Poetry Slam finalist, and the former slammaster of the Berkeley Slam, the longest running poetry slam on the West Coast. She was the 2015 Berkeley Grand Slam Champ, and went on to place third in the nation at the 2015 National Poetry Slam. She has toured internationally, from Berlin to the Scottish Rites Center to performing alongside the Townsend Opera. Her work has been published or is upcoming in AGNI, PANK, Bird-feast, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing her MFA as a Goldwater fellow at New York University.