2 Poems by Sarah Sarai

The Great Mute Who Is Almighty

. . . and I have wondered, from that day to this, why he did it.

-Julian Bond

One morning you head to the McDonald’s near 150th Street, knowing when you order a one-dollar coffee the server will ask What size? and you’ll think Small then change to Large, because a one-dollar coffee at McDonald’s is any size you want. The young man will let you know he doesn’t want to serve you. It’ll make sense. You’ll move on to Immaculate Conception and the serenity of something started long ago. When the Almighty Mute gets it right, she gets it right, but mostly by way of architecture. You admire her for still bothering to exist and suggest it’s time she makes good, say, for the kid at McDonald’s who took your order, one coffee-one cream, and held you responsible. Which you are. Not really. But really, you are. Julian Bond and Taylor Branch were in Georgia’s first Black delegation to the Democratic Convention. They couldn’t make costs until a chance meeting and the Honorable Elijah Muhammed giving them $3000 cash. He “literally changed the face” of the American possible. Separatist is just a word. Do or don’t credit the Great Mute Who Is Almighty, but take as an article of faith that when the machine is pushed and pushed and pushed to move – maybe by the clear-eyed kid at McDonald’s – it sometimes up and moves.


The Shiny You Have Missed

It is in our nature to teach the two-step, add butter, indulge our pride. We will not rise to our becoming if we are duped by our being, sidetracked by a date-of-birth or the whittled praise of a tombstone. Time to explore space, now we are finally out there and in it. Newly mapped fixed-points of celestial understanding reveal we are not where we thought we were. No escape from the self. Sins may be original but not pretense, generated during the great resettlements of dust by the systemically unscrupulous. Why are lives not more banal than they are? Join us, my father and me, as we forage the neighborhood and peer through windows of real-people homes. So that’s what it’s like to have a family?


Sarah Sarai’s work is in Barrow Street, Sinister Wisdom, Gone Lawn, Boston Review, Cleaver, and others. Books include That Strapless Bra in Heaven (forthcoming); Geographies of Soul and Taffeta; The Future Is Happy. She lives in N.Y.C.

Photo by Prokhor Minin on Unsplash 

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