Rana Tahir


More: the eye that should be shriveled, dust,
a lifeless planet, not turning
on its axis. The roundness
of a woman, open without skin.
A man preserved: hunched over—
exposed each bone to shape our form. Shoulders
stacked inescapable for the most part. The spine:
a pattern to build the body. Every
casualty seemed minor: one thousand dead.
A minor war with minor consequences in
six weeks for a small country that should
have been decimated—cried over like some
genocide. The truth is, everything is small
in Kuwait, even our tragedies. A man says there
were a lot of parties, and no one suffered a lack
of booze in this occupation. He throws back his
hand swathing some broken image in mind:
a hospital bed with bloody sheets, his father
with a pistol to the head. He talks more.
Another keeps his ID card in his back pocket,
when his hair was black like his eyes.
He makes a point to show it to me.

Rana Tahir is a poet and author living in Portland, OR. Her work has appeared in publications such as Poetry Online, Palette Poetry, and Quarterly West among others. She earned her MFA from Pacific University and is a Kundiman Fellow and member of RAWI. Her second Choose Your Own Adventure book based on the show Stranger Things was published in April 2023. More at: www.rana-tahir.com