Study of Hands, Peter Lely


By then we were used to it. Mornings no longer found us in the kitchen,
turning on the kettle. Breakfast was something people did on billboards
or TV. We leaned less on promises of after-dark kebabs or scoops of ice
cream. Our hunger turned quiet, orderly. As if we knew what hunger was
and what it was never supposed to be. A dull cold squeezed our ankles,
burned in our ears. Nights stunted, we stole sleep on bus seats, in front
of computer screens. Hands moved off beat. Weekends, we lay in bed
under cream cotton sheets past edges of noon. But we didn’t want days
to dissolve unconsciously. We wanted to stand in our faint bodies,
upright. Awake. Watch the city hurry past our shoulders. We were too
weak to keep up. Sometimes this allowed us to see.

Sahar Romani

Sahar Romani, daughter of Indian Muslim immigrants, was born and raised in Seattle. A poet and educator, Sahar’s poems appear or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Poetry Society of America, The Offing, The Margins, and The Yale Review. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Poets House, and New York University, where she earned her MFA and teaches writing to first-year undergraduates.