Seeker by Dalia Dehnavi



In that dream
in that world that was the world of the things between the things
that we experience, the world behind and around us that lays it
out for what it truly is, shows us
as we are without having to ask any questions

I was the creatures that run in the dark and hide

I was a skulk
and I left every room you entered
and turned my back to protect my pack
In the long and colourful night I made my own reprieve
and turned infinitely inwards
against the predators I felt
and often heard
beyond me

My skin was impenetrable craggy stone that outlasted centuries
and all the men who travelled there
and made their lives upon it

Forests thick, full of the unending agitation of wildlife
that grew from my peaks and cascaded down to the water
that told my boundary

I was the protection of my arms shoulders and hip
where civilisation repeated itself endlessly
and told the story of natural beauty
when I know that nature is a fortress
and can’t hear stories of its own beauty

Inside this air is another and a million lives that catch
in my throat:


my majesty and the world a term of days played out in me

You are a seeker on the shore


	Time is slow
and while we wait
we’ll use the space
for other things

like, the gentle folding
of paper wings

to be constructed
one by one

and we’ll manage through
each sharpened crease
to smooth ourselves
and hang with strings
our progress

if while we are concentrating
on paper birds
shaped in hands
we are interrupted in our task
and turn away
let it be to better things

allow the wish we worked towards
to stay unwished
on uncreased pages
while we find the greater prize
and stand, hands empty
in awe of birds
free of strings

that fly


They thought it fine to skate and dive
and carve the night up with a line

they teased the line
to concrete shapes that moved
from mind to brittle page
and drew the night on papered walls
to fill the blank and aching space

and soon they’d filled each corner in
and inked new shapes into the gaps

they moved from walls to fill the floors
where footprints usually fall
then drew upon the backs of doors
on empty chairs and tabletops
on the undersides of things
they added texture to the dark
and before they could stop
they’d painted one another’s skin
black and colour
filled it in

but they craved more	   wished
to have no space for living in

so they tore the edges of the room
the lines that keep out this from that
the lines that slowly divide the time
they rent them out
they ripped them up
till nothing was divided up
and the space between things emptied out
and folded in
and they were sitting skin to skin

They put their faith on empty space
and all the things
that we keep in
they let it out

and let it walk itself about

Dalia Dehnavi was born on the sunny coast of North Devon. She moved to London to study English literature at University College London before doing a Master’s in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck. She now lives in Cambodia, where she works in human rights and is the editor of a local magazine. Dalia is a freelance writer, film festival founder, dance enthusiast, slapdash cook, and misplacer of important things. She enjoys reciting poetry and cycling the streets of Phnom Penh.

19 December 2020