KR OnlinePoetry


After a month of asking, suddenly, a voice. It says You deserve that which has happened to you. It says I see what you do with your long, terrene hands. Maundering through the banalities of my life, it follows, speaking, as if from a frosty bag of peas in the freezer aisle, speaking, while I am on my knees, scrubbing the bathroom floor, trying to love a man. Its speech is disquieting company, but company nonetheless—a TV left on and turned low. It desperately wants my attention but is polite, which is its defining weakness. Sometimes I catch it stirring out of the corner of my eye—a glint at the end of my cat’s whiskers, a spangle on the ceiling of indiscernible source. More often, though, it looks like me, only a little off, like my reflection in the pregnant belly of a spoon. In fact, when I speak to it, I use my own name. I’m not sure if it minds. It repeats instead its refrain. It says God has plans for you. It says I didn’t say they were good.

Leila Chatti
Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of the chapbooks Ebb (Akashic Books, New-Generation African Poets Series) and Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editors' Selection from Bull City Press. She is the recipient of a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and fellowships and scholarships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, the Key West Literary Seminar, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, where she is the 2017-2018 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, The Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, Narrative, and elsewhere.