Less Than Perfect Strangers

Omar Zahzah

How is it

That someone who learns

the acid of your sweat

The salt of your skin

The quiver of your release

Can author

The grammar of your tears

The terror of your breath

The screaming from your dreams?


What runs the blood

Bitter, renders

The fingers that stroked your cheeks

Sharpened stalactites?


Each morning, you watched

Cool streaks of the same sun

Start to stain the floor, the sheets

Cuddled together, a pledge:

“You can trust me.”

Yesterday, someone told you that tomorrow

The sun and moon would switch their shifts


Today you’re left wondering

Which statement

Was more fantastic.





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Omar Zahzah is a writer, poet and activist whose creative and political writings have appeared in various publications including Narrative magazine and the New York Times. Several of Omar's poems were featured in the anthology, Beside the City of Angels: An Anthology of Long Beach Poetry. In 2016, Omar’s chapbook 13 Almost Love Poems was released. Omar holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA.