poem index

poet

Solmaz Sharif

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Solmaz Sharif’s first poetry collection, LOOK (Graywolf Press, 2016), was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. Sharif is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University in California.

by this poet

poem

You are like a daughter
to me
—the prisoner’s
mother tells me. Meal by
meal she sets then clears. She

rinses some tablewear
the prisoner never
held, then a glass she did,
then recalls her daughter’s

mouth opening softly
to drink water on state-
run TV,

2
poem

 

Friends describe my DISPOSITION

as stoic. Like a dead fish, an ex said. DISTANCE

is a funny drug and used to make me a DISTRESSED PERSON,

one who cried in bedrooms and airports. Once I bawled so hard at the border, even the man with the stamps and holster said Don’t cry. You’

2
poem

Everywhere we went, I went
in pigtails
no one could see—

ribbon curled
by a scissor’s sharp edge,
the bumping our cars

undertook when hitting
those strips
along the interstate

meant to shake us
awake. Everywhere we went
horses bucking