scenario five: you are not a myth

& regardless you were raised on stories of good women
so you know the third time’s the nip at your
heels the swing in your step the charmed life
you’ve been saying you don’t want


if you line the streets with peacock feathers
or rangoli every threshold in the city—

if you chant auspicious, auspicious

that the sun won’t come


hold your own ears shut
by folding the lobes up with your pointer fingers

that’s it

hold them


if they fling stones & then call you
a cold bitch, show them your nails
filed down


if they fling dirt & tell you
your body belongs here


The Marrow H 5” x W 3” x D 6” porcelain, slip, glaze 2014 Jessica Kreutter

The Marrow
H 5” x W 3” x D 6”
porcelain, slip, glaze
Jessica Kreutter



Raena Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017). Her honors include a 2016 Pushcart Prize, the 2016 Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, the 2014 Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, & a “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Prize in 2013. She has also been recognized as a finalist for the 2016 Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize & a 2014 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. Her poems & reviews have appeared in Blackbird, Ninth Letter, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, PleiadesFour Way Review, & elsewhere. She was raised in Charleston, South Carolina, where she recently taught English at College of Charleston, her alma mater. Born in Houston, Texas, the Indian American poet earned her MFA from The Ohio State University. She currently lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where she is the Philip Roth Resident at Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry, & serves as a poetry reader for Muzzle Magazine.