by Leila Chatti

When referring to a suicide, we say she took
her own life because we recognize a life

isn’t ours, not really, it’s a thing
borrowed or worn for a short while

like a coat in winter, but
it was August when she stole

her life in her own two hands, the sky
sweat on everything, or wept, all metaphor—

however you choose to say it,
she was tired, she entered the summer night

as if entering a room or a bath
or a long silence, she decided

it was hers, and once she had
it in her grasp, she knew

nothing could ever
make her give it back.


Spring Thaw

by Leila Chatti

March, month of her
birth, unfurls like a fist
of petals, cold

receding a sheet dragged
back from the earth
which took her

like a seed and now offers
green bristles, leaves,
magnolias like ghosts

waking in the branches.

Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of the chapbook Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editor’s Selection from Bull City Press. She is the recipient of the 2017-2018 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, a writing fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop and Dickinson House, and prizes from Ploughshares' Emerging Writer's Contest, Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems appear in Best New Poets, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Georgia Review, New England Review, West Branch, Narrative, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.