Hanisha Harjani


a second life trembles
in the
      blindness between
      my blinks.
uneven teeth, microbeaded tongue, the
texture of hopping oil on skin,
      a memory of the sun loving us:
            i am smearing a gradient
            of saliva on your shoulder
            + watching it
you become a fragmented me and we tumble,
helically, till we are dizzy and sated but nowhere
closer to making sense of this chaos,
            tho we try.

first, thru fingers:
      a sensation. all my subatomic
particles are close and vibrating closely
            but never touching.
& i rub my hands in the wet but can
never be a part of it.

you tell me this:
            you keep having dreams about birds perching on your gravestone.
            the birds are all different shapes and the soil is a fresh rectangle. the
            dirt is upturned and soft-seeming, with some small three-pronged
            feetprints. the birds are all calling out for their mates. some look
            left, some right, while others stare dispassionately into the fogged
            distance as though they are in a trance, performing this action only
            because of biology or genetic memory or some sort of ancestral
            trauma that they are otherwise detached from. none of the calls are
            returned. still, they stay there, drenched in lonely birdsong. calling
            out in desperation or out of obligation or because they have
            forgotten how to do anything else. days pass, pressing over each
            other like wet leaves. at this point, you realize that the birds are
            slowly dying, frozen corpses still perched on your forever-home,
            beaks parted on a syllable. you are horrified at first, but then
            comforted by their bodies, scattered on top of yours. you make a
            wish for each one and then wonder what the combination of your
            decomposition will produce. this is when you wake up.


when i meditate or masturbate,
i am often thinking of the fish tank
at the local Chinese place
      & the bloated, unmoving bodies
      of the fish, as figures of transcendence;
            a gesture towards salvation or,
            something less kinky like.

i start pressing leaves between
books and you decide to

as an exercise in being

& we agree over canned
beans and rice,
      that life is moving
      too fast to capture
so we surrender to it & break
the cameras on our phones
with our fists


when the aliens crash land amongst the cows, dizzy and a little
hungover, they wake to milky sunshine and the smell of manure.
they look at the cows and themselves and the grass and the cud
clumped on the cows’ jaws and their eyes and their tails and the
flies swatted by their tails and feel at peace. the only thing they
see is pasture and sky. they know that there are other things
beyond the horizon and that they could see them if they moved
steadily in one direction or another—but a cow moos in the
distance and the sound holds in it, both, the hollowness of the
universe and a moment of clarity: they stay where they are and
touch the earth and let the gnats sit on their skin. when the sun
goes down and it starts to rain, they leave with the memory of
grass on their bodies.


i become preoccupied with water & how
      preservation requires dehydration, maybe a
      pinch of salt or some sort of chemical
            solution that is unhealthy for the planet
            & our lungs.

A writer/filmmaker at the Pratt Institute hoping to blossom into something like a plate of pizza rolls or an imperfect clause. She likes looking at gnats fly into each other and the veins on the undersides of leaves. She makes strange movies and likes strange things.