My Sentimental Afternoon


Around me, the stubborn trees. Here
I was sad and not sad, I looked up
at a caravan of clouds. Will you ever
speak to me again, beyond
my nightly resurrections? My desire
displaces, is displaced. The sun
unrolls black shadows
which halve me. I stand
very still so as not to startle
the song in the branches.
It’s true: I am learning to believe
there are beautiful things
never meant for me.

Leila Chatti is a Tunisian American poet and author of Deluge—winner of the 2021 Levis Reading Prize and the 2021 Luschei Prize, and longlisted for the 2021 PEN Open Book Award—and four chapbooks. She lives in Cincinnati and teaches in Pacific University’s MFA program.

[Purchase Issue 27 here.]

My Sentimental Afternoon

Related Posts

Two pink buds peek out of a tangle of bare branches, set against an overcast sky.

Losing the Daphne

It was neither ice nor heat. That is, not one single ice storm and not one single heat wave. The relentless strangeness of weather left the Daphne this way, budded around the edge but dead in the center. She will probably not last another hot summer.

the peninsula at county mayo


Mairéad knows what she will say if her husband asks why she has been filling their eldest daughter’s bowl to the brim with porridge at every meal while taking less than a full serving for herself. She will talk about how much she hates oats, has always hated everything about them.

the cover of kusserow

Poetry as an Ethnographic Tool: Leah Zani interviews Adrie Kusserow

ADRIE KUSSEROW in conversation with LEAH ZANI
Ironically, my other biggest challenge was the way that writing never let me off the hook, into a place of rest, where I felt like I could easily “sum up” a particular culture. I wasn’t prepared for how the act of writing itself would become a kind of archaeology.