Distanced: Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Editor Sam Preminger, Poetry, April 13th, 2020




“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
Mehrnoosh is a resident of Queens, New York where local hospitals have been overwhelmed by the outbreak. To best support her, you can support her community by giving at:



You can learn more about Mehrnoosh at her website.




Listen here:
Ode to the Good Wi-Fi


Especially now, this crystal-clear image,
framed by a touchscreen rectangle,
the only portal to his existence
I had never watched so intently
the way a laugh originates and executes
its purpose: to offer proof of steady breath
Even if his body freezes,
I am still naïve enough to believe
a restart will remedy this glitch
Just like how I think the birds
are chirping louder than usual
because they are missing us
But there is no echo,
no reflection of our voices
to complain or ponder about
And in fact, I see perfectly
his fingers when he adjusts
the tilt of his screen
Part of a hand that used to glide
at a soothing pace down my back
when I was falling asleep
I write praise so I forget
the shudder, the shattering of my own,
as I witness those fingers open
into a palm, a carrier of the unseen,
now, a possible vessel
to a secluded suffering,
an unwilling enemy,
conqueror of the safety, and softness,
of its former function


Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad’s poetry has appeared in Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Waxwing among others. She won the 2019 LUMINA La Lengua contest and the 2016 Pinch Literary Prize, and is a Best of the New, Pushcart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee. She lives in New York where she practices law.




Learn more about “Distanced: Artists Under Quarantine” here.

Sam Preminger

Sam Preminger is a Portland-based poet. Their work has appeared throughout various publications and they hold an MFA from Pacific University.