Ever wonder how journal editors make decisions about work to feature? The Take gives you a glimpse behind the scenes at Mud Season Review. Here, we feature one single poem or flash fiction piece that caught the attention of the editorial team, apart from the signature poetry portfolio or fiction piece in our bi-monthly issues. We hear from the author about the inspiration for his or her work, and we hear from a co-editor about why the poem or flash fiction story stood out.
a secret / about razor blades. / I am / a historian on grief / but still can’t / trace
depression / in my lineage. / An acquaintance / gets a high on carving
/ constellations over / his birthmarks. / Says it’s a delicious way / to remember
agony. / Have I ever / learned agony? / Is it asking / “when will you be back” /
when expecting the death of tomorrow? / Is it watching / how-to tutorials on /
writing elegies / to Ophelia? / I am just so young / so naïve / hopelessly /
why do you sit stiff / before your mother? / Do you, too, feign / intimacy with
those you consider / strangers? / I am half-forgotten / someone who possesses /
a love for the unknown / but bashfully shy. / Will you wait for me / in the next /
century? / I’m quite lonely / and tired of / Shakespearean folklore / but I’ll make /
an exception for you. / I doodle sonnets / with bubbles / in the bath. / I want a
pretty death / just like yours. / Ophelia / I’m terrified of heights but / I think I’m
falling / faster than I ever could.
the seeds of grief / maybe / they’ll bloom into agony.
“Cartography” was inspired by something my mother told me. She told me the women in our family carry this legacy, this burden, of depression partially due to abuse inflicted upon them by men. I then thought of Ophelia, a woman driven mad by the two defining male figures in her life, and sought to weave these narratives together.
From the Poetry Editors
Ashley Hajimirsadeghi’s poem is constructed with such sure-handed use of form. She experiments with line breaks, punctuation and language. She layers casual self-awareness with a maturity that’s rare in an emerging writer. At home in the dark emotional territory of depression, she’s able to shape nuances of remembered agony, learned agony, and the ironic image of agony in bloom. A poet who can open with ”razor blades,” befriend Ophelia, then soften her tone briefly “with bubbles/ in the bath./“ displays a range that makes this piece a virtual force field.