Back to Issue Forty-Seven

Silence, Yours, a Sudden Winter



A bright unbearable adorning the sidewalks,
the streetlamps, the branches of the Gulmohar
unshakable as nightfall. A pacing and pacing

inside myself. Red brick after red brick, careless
in its crumbling. In the year without a country
I found you and took root, took time,

a supplicant’s form. As in: rescue, please. As if
possible. And because it wasn’t, this should all
make sense by now. What was bound to happen,

bound too tight. What you said to me, what you pulled
from me, what the hours screamed beneath a burning
sky. There is a way to pour it back, nurse it real—

our summertime. Blue tarp for the mind’s roof. Chicago
skyline and a saxophone’s footprint in the evening air.
Candlelight, or what stoked between us, gilding the room.

Later, pressed up against the stairwell—desire’s hooves.
Was it plead—making need of us, making name? The pink
of your tongue, a sudden sunset. What was greening in me

leaning to you. Rush of wings. Plush of hips.
When the song was not for suffering. When
all this snow was the softness of your teeth.





I want nothing from my father
but what he knows. From you,

what I gave. The light at leaving
separate from that at being left.

The light leaving, then. The light framing
a doorway and making of our bodies

the quickest kind of history. I stood there
and am still standing. For months, you wept

with my hand inside you, my hand
holding what fell. Repetition a route

to pleasure; deviance, to release.
You lay down and stretched

into a year beneath me. Outside
that calendar—one enduring day.

Sanam Sheriff is a queer poet and artist from Bangalore, India. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Academy of American Poets, The Offing, Vinyl Poetry & Prose, Black Warrior Review, Kweli Journal, Shade Literary Arts, DW B, and elsewhere. Sanam holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College, and is working, with much love, on her debut poetry collection.

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