The Way Cacti Quiver

By SARA ELKAMEL

 

I am beginning to think about the middle,
and how we should behave in it.

When I say you held me closer than clouds hold birds
you tell me it was coincidence we slept at all.

Of course I want it to stop. I dream every night of a man
with the head of a man and the body of a scary sea creature. 

I dream the man is lost so I carry him home. Of course
I mistake water for home and home for water but at least, I try. 

In the dream no one searches for me. Awake, I show symptoms
of love, but I cannot say for sure. I keep looking for the

‘remedies for every ailment’ I wrote in Amman in the fall—sitting
by the window infested with doubt. I remember neither ailments

nor remedies. By the ancient sugar mill where there used to be a river,
we were told there was a time they cured everything with sugar.

 

Sara Elkamel is a poet and journalist living between her hometown, Cairo, and New York City. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at New York University. Named a 2020 Gregory Djanikian Scholar by The Adroit Journal, Elkamel’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The CommonMichigan Quarterly ReviewThe RumpusAmerican ChordataWinter Tangerine, as part of the Halal If You Hear Me anthology, and elsewhere.

[Purchase Issue 19 here.]

The Way Cacti Quiver

Related Posts

Headshot of Anne Pierson Wiese

Sharp Shadows

ANNE PIERSON WIESE
On our kitchen wall at a certain time / of year appeared what we called the sharp / shadows. / A slant of western light found / its way through the brown moult of fire / escape hanging on to our Brooklyn rental / building for dear life and etched replicas / of everything

Sunlight coming through a window. Photo from Pexels.

January 2024 Poetry Feature: Four Poems by Vinod Kumar Shukla

VINOD KUMAR SHUKLA
To get out of bed in the morning, / I don’t depend on anyone / except on my sleep. / If I’m fast asleep / and it’s time to get out of bed, / I find myself opening my eyes. / When I want to stay awake, sleep won’t come. / If I stay awake all night / sleep won’t come all night.

A bumblebee on a daffodil

January 2024 Poetry Feature: Part I

ADRIENNE SU
Every woman / is expected to become. / Always being touched, // always creating, / I cherished being wanted / and necessary, // was glad to possess / a body that could nourish / more than its own mind. // Yet I couldn’t sleep / though I ached for sleep; something.