scenario two : wanderless



so you aren’t struck by lightning

& regardless this culture has no myths

about lit women anyway




the animal spooled in his own unwinding

calls you mother in some dreams


other times someone reads your palm

shaking their head, saying, no stars


align, no stars align




the sun decides you aren’t worth it. it’s true

the sky’s chakra is never wrong : peach puddles

lining the horizon. you dip your toes


in runoff, think of white divinations

soaring over a synth




broken, you won’t eat the raspberries, say

you shouldn’t eat what will stain




you sit at the mouth of the river

alone, like always, like you never have

before. it sounds like it’s singing baby


please go please but you know

no one tells the dead they’re not wanted anymore


Raena Shirali is a poet, teaching artist, and editor from Charleston, South Carolina. Raena is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. A first-generation Indian American, Raena is the recipient of prizes and honors from VIDA, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, & Cosmonauts Avenue. Winner of a Pushcart Prize & a former Philip Roth Resident at Bucknell University, her poems & reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, Blackbird, Ninth Letter, Diode, The Nation, West Branch, Tupelo Quarterly, & elsewhere. Raena lives in Philadelphia, where she recently co-organized We (Too) Are Philly, a summer poetry festival highlighting voices of color. She serves as Poetry Editor for Muzzle Magazine & Poetry Reader for Vinyl. Read more at