Alycia Pirmohamed received a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon in 2014. She is the recipient of a Calgary Artist Opportunity Grant, an honorable mention in Vallum Contemporary Magazine and a second place prize in Grain Magazine. She currently resides in Calgary, Alberta.

This poem was inspired so distinctly by place: the North Saskatchewan River that runs through the city I grew up in, and the Rocky Mountains so clearly visible from my balcony every morning. In this piece, the landscape works in tandem with the speaker’s emotions—the nostalgia and the loss of self is mirrored in the onset of evening, when the physical body seems to almost disappear in the darkness.  

Questions from the Editor:

Who is your favorite superhero?
Buffy Summers/Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

You can live in only one place from this day forward: where is it?
As someone who has been quite happily transient these last couple of years, the prospect of living in only one place for the rest of my life is a little terrifying. If I had to choose, I’d stay here. Canada has been a good home—it is a beautiful country with beautiful people. 

Dog or cat?

Prime Number Magazine
is a publication of 
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PO Box 30314,
Winston-Salem NC 27130
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Issue 101, Oct – Dec 2016
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130

Alycia Pirmohamed
Honorable Mention in the 2016 Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry

Judged by Kelly Cherry, former Poet Laureate of Virginia and author of The Life and Death of Poetry: Poems (LSU Press)

Followed by author bio and Q&A
On the North Saskatchewan River

Tonight, a cold wind disassembles 
my body. 

Take what you want.

I am in a canoe, floating down the North Saskatchewan River.
Fish slip in and out of view,

scales blinking like emergency lights

and all the while, I think of how the stars wind together,
how they constellate into the giant net

pluming ahead. 

Two blacknesses, now, split by a third. The horizon.
Lost to this darkness

my fingertips touch the water and water

petals over the skin. Again, take what you want.
Collect the memory

of peeling oranges in July, rinds thumbprinted and softened
by an hour long drive to the mountains. 

And the elk. Sunrise looping like a thread of mango blossoms
on their backs as they spill into view.

With each swell of the river, the canoe lifts like a small bird.

I have disconnected.
I am obsessed with losing myself 

to the long, drawn out current of memory. Peel away 
my skin—dark meniscus over the water.

Unravel me until only the light is left.