Anis Shivani



I learned handwriting as a single member
of a class of pilots.

——————For the storage of oil
(the death of the insured person) the observed
values are mouth-central.

————————–Explain to me
this language spoken by 6 million people.

I am a full month of the moon (my never-never
land at the south celestial pole), and my fleshy
cheek pads

are soon to see the bladed African tool.


I am afraid of:
spraddle, the tartufo-spree

of the Tarim, evaporating,
with not much of a defined bed,

evaporating into pollen sacs,
cartoons. I am afraid of:

thatches of trout lilies,
making me stay away from school.

What is not covered by insurance?
The weeklong wiggle of the hips.

I am afraid of gliders,
I refuse to drop closer to the ground.

After the fall of Jerusalem—
after laissez-passer at the Wailing Wall—

the black river out of gear,
the one who worships idle threats.


When my mother—
through the arrows of idle-memory—
became hybrid

———of lower rank than the angels,

then I brought bad lack (wryneck)
to translating her ear,

and in the local tango (or polka),
the infection, they said,

was minuscule:

—————–like the dry
monsoon, a simpler sugar.


The litany of 100 liquid songs,
each one of which is the price of a candela,

placed on rooftops (to hum a lullaby/
soothing drink) on the morning of the destroyed

horse-divided-lobes (the matchbook imam
who ran away to Canada), and each of

the songs an eye in the sun, a mute swan
(never on Friday) listening to the firearm.


Anis Shivani is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of several books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including, most recently, Karachi Raj: A Novel, Soraya: Sonnets, Literary Writing in the 21st Century: Conversations, The Moon Blooms in Occupied Hours: Poems, and the forthcoming Logography: A Poetry Omnibus. He lives in Houston, Texas.


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