It was easier to say
I had a headache,

already holding my head
in my hands like a bruised melon

no one examined
carefully at the market,

the rest of me gnarled
under the blanket

supported my claim,
because pain must be a bend,

a misshape bound to bedsheets,
so my father took one look,

said he would get the painkillers,
the stronger ones we kept

in nightstands and not the cabinet;
he said this right after he pressed

his palm to my hot forehead,
confidently diagnosed a fever;

it was like in that moment,
the demon crawled out

of my chest to set a colorless fire
to my face and said believe her

MEHRNOOSH TORBATNEJAD was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Pinch Journal, and is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly and Silk Road Review. She is the poetry editor for Noble / Gas Qtrly, and a Best of the Net, Pushchart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee. She currently lives in New York where she practices matrimonial law.