The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Malak by Jenny Sadre-Orafai

Round Lake Yearbook

The way you know today is by getting mad
at the stars, the chickens, the lists,
at the noisemakers mostly.

The way you know what time it is
is by reading glow-in-the-dark stickers
on an overhead fan that belonged to your teenage self.

The way you predict the future and don’t tell anyone
is the same way you know you will ruin every manicure
on purpose by eating pistachios.

The way you carefully pass a school bus
with a sign across the back: DRIVER IN TRAINING.
The way the phrase fts the situation.

The way we don’t have to be this loud when we’re old.
Our bones are good news. They heal on their own.
Our bones are the best things to keep us standing.

The way, when I mentioned your name, all the rabbits
and hares came out of the forest and smelled
a diferent air, their whiskers trembling.

The way your hairline falls into my face
and every dream happens again but on diferent roads,
and you put me in my grave and you see it.

The way other people I can’t think of right now
don’t make us sisters with so many dreams,
with so many windows open or let down.

The way we handle the life and death of public art.
The way we tell the mural good news,
bad news, how it is still in need of urgent care.

The way that man who lived fve miles away
was a gunman, how we gave money
for their funerals in Wisconsin.

The way we tell the cicadas to please hit more notes.
The way the new fnch doesn’t know space.
The way we fall into place around Round Lake.

The way no one here is awake yet.
The way we raise the dead is real.
Our whole gold life is happening.

This selection comes from the collection Malak, available from Platypus Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for December is Tierney Bailey.

Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of Paper, Cotton, Leather and Malak. Her poetry has appeared in Cream City Review, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review, Hotel Amerika, The Pinch, and other journals. Her prose has appeared in Los Angeles Review, The Rumpus, South Loop Review, Fourteen Hills, The Collagist, and other journals. She is co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly and an Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Amongst her pursuits, Tierney is currently the production editor at Redivider Magazine and a copyeditor at Strange Horizons. As a graduate student at Emerson College, Tierney is studying publishing in the Writing and Publishing program. True to her Midwesterner roots, Tierney still smiles upon the slightest bit of eye contact, makes small talk in lines and elevators, and exclaims “ope!” with barely any provocation at all. If you can’t find her on a train somewhere between Providence and Boston, she can easily be found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney.


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