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Inventory Of The Aftermath by A. Shaikh

inventory of the aftermath



in my twentieth

year of brand-new.

self-contained orgasms.

taxes & a cheaper

phone bill. now, each poem

eats my cuticles.

begins to re-invent

seismology, where

i am my own fault-line.

tectonic disaster. funny

how i left never leaves me.

i see the exit sign in dreams.

nightmares. words start to lose

meaning said enough times.

like your name. once meaning

lucky, and now a planet

with melting ice caps

and dead chimpanzees.

A. Shaikh

A. Shaikh is a poet raised in the tangerine summers of Texas. She is an associate for The Kenyon Review, Editor-in-Chief of Sunset Press, and an Aquarius who loves the color blue. You can find her poems forthcoming in The Susequehanna Review, Underblong, and Jam&Sand. Her twitter thoughts reside @apricotpoet

About this poem

'The ending was inspired by the work of one of my favorite poets and friends, Virginia Kane, who has this line in her love poem "the Anthropocene" which goes "i am already rising above cars & trees & what used to be trees so once again i ignore the fact that everything i love is melting." In contrast, the speaker in this poem is consumed by a narrative of loss in both her internal and external worlds, which means she can't ignore the headlines of climate change and these larger stories of grief. I always describe this poem as a break-up poem as much as it is a love poem, because I found that in taking an inventory of what is left behind after an important relationship, you often have to confront what wonder you once held during it.'


Ray Sharp
Ray Sharp
Feb 24, 2020

Gorgeous, spare, haunting


Katy Simpson
Katy Simpson
Jan 14, 2020

"funny how I left never leaves me" - love this line. Thank you Tara and all the poets here for such beautiful, moving words.

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