We Are More: jagadakir, as in fate





jagadakir, as in fate

i spit out my gum while it’s still gushing
a sweet pink.

i gore my cigarette into the wall before
its fire is done burning.

when i shower, i make sure to leave
the house with only half-dried hair.

when my countries need mourning,
i make sure to leave body-first,
shadow still there.

even the microgreens in my avo toast
are seedlings, their speckling
cut mid-life. a kindred hurt.

i include them in my every grocery list.

ah, this half-assed state of being.
this half-assed one blood, half-assed other.

maybe it’s cause of whatever my rising sign is.

maybe it’s because the moon was still
only waxing when i was born.

maybe it’s because the wombs
that blooded me were, too, unwhole.

the last may be the truer.

the writing on my forehead said morning child,
5:00 am on a mideastern january.

but what does it mean.

i cannot get myself to stay
for the moonrise of anything’s day.

even my sentences begin in one language,
break in another.





Note: Jagadakir (ճակատագիր) is Armenian for “fate.” With “Jagad” (ճակատ) meaning “forehead” and “kir” (գիր) meaning “writing,” jagadakir entails the belief that one’s fate is predetermined through a writing on their forehead.


Logo by Mina M. Jafari
Column artwork by Abdel Morched.

We Are More is an inclusive space for SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) and SWANA diaspora writers to tell our stories, our way. Curated by Michelle Zamanian, this new column seeks to disrupt the media’s negative and stereotypical narratives by creating a consistent platform to be heard, outside of and beyond the waxing and waning interest of the news cycle. We’ll publish creative nonfiction, graphic essays, fiction, poetry, and interviews by SWANA writers on a wide variety of subject matter.

Perla Kantarjian is an award-winning Lebanese-Armenian poet, editor, and journalist with writings in over thirty publications including Magma, Electric Literature, AMBIT, The Hellebore, and others. Kantarjian's work has been recognized by the Southbank Centre, The Bridport Prize, the 2022 Sappho Prize for Woman Poets by Palette Poetry, and the 2022 St. Lawrence Book Award by Black Lawrence Press, among others. Her poem "Half Woman, Half Starlight" is soon to be archived on the moon as part of the Artists on the Moon project by The Lunar Codex. She completed her MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia as the 2021 Sonny Mehta Scholar. Her website is perlakantarjian.com. More from this author →