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My parents were teachers (and they did not know it)

Aman Bibi Gray

I would take little bits of the sun-warmed life

around me

and tuck them into my breast.

Crammed behind my molars. Seep through my toes, run away; sweep away my footsteps from the sand.


It was always little, little:

too-thin white lines on my ankles,

knowing how long I’d have to watch the clock tick. ‘Fore I reached out, white cloth.


Swing my hand through the air. Ghost fingers tangle in mine, her laugh on my lips. Piece of my cornea: every suit of the shopfront.


(My pockets: phone, keys, my dad’s pocketknife. Couldn’t do without all three.)


When I looked and felt nothing but the want to kiss, to hold hands, to lie together and sleep. (Of course it wasn’t a nothing but. Not to me. Not to me.)


Pulled by the hand,

whispers behind oak library-shelves:

and my head hit all their laminated spines,


but her fingers were so tight in my curls that I didn’t much care.


My wife holds me like a neighbour’s baby, or an orange,

like something precious.


I know:

she wonders

my password-locked everything.

how my lips shape into lies when I’m half-awake. Indeed, I still do not let her wash the blood from my socks.


I know:

she will wait

for me to speak of it all,


I know:

she will not ask my heart


repent, repent.


My ears are overflowing, still. And I turn behind when we walk. So that my footprints will be wiped from the soil —

Converse-stamp by Converse-stamp.

Aman Bibi Gray is a writer and photographer based in Durban, South Africa. They love chasing their three rabbits around the house, playing the tabla, and crocheting — though not all at the same time!

Glenn Ingersoll
What Has a Secret Life

David Howard
Everyone Wants to Be Chosen

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