Sagirah Shahid


This snowbank is thigh high

snow is a collection of trapped water.

When the sun is close enough, the water

regains the faint memory of its homeland

and flees.

I have no place else to go back to

so I watch the slow flurry of new time replacing the old one.

Yesterday, I spent hours stroking the glean off my phone

until it erased every dead thing, until the dead were entwined

into its body. Even my thoughts.

Rehearsing is its own ritual.

I tell myself whatever lies I need to hear

to make it through a day. Today, I go through the motions

of “moderately-content-human-being”

until I can make small talk

until I can make laughter too. See, look at me setting your paper-thin world on fire

with these bemused observations in-between coffee breaks.

Meanwhile, I sobbed into the arms of no one

and jolted shut the doorlatch of a bathroom stall

no one could hear the tiny prayer I made

but I know it’s alive.


SAGIRAH SHAHID is a Black Muslim writer from Minneapolis, MN. She was a 2015 recipient of the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series award in poetry, a 2017 recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and a 2016-2017 participant in the Minnesota Center for Book Arts Mentorship series. Her poems and short stories can be found in Mizna, Paper Darts, AtlanticRock, Blue Minaret, and elsewhere.


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