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Cover Image by Michael Yull 

Hands by Zain Alizai

Published November 29, 2020

break the hand

and the bread

it kneads break

the bars the bestiary


calls for a break

king of motion

come share this

commotion it gets


lonely there is

no brakes to the

breaking of my

own two hands


this god and all the wings spread in flight

            this better not kill me

on a sidewalk. On the park bench. On the road

                        overlooking barren boneland.

Maybe if I was born as murmur, I wouldn’t breathe

like a mistake. This magnificent unbecoming. How a day passes


and everything looks alive all of a sudden. How I hold my beating

chest and my feet respond.

All the ways I have tried to protect my hands

have failed miserably. I pray. A fingertip growing from a knuckle

crackling the midnight. I say what shivers at the break of dawn –

a sigh ballooning into a hue, the way I remember god saying

perhaps the dandelions are overgrown. Yes, do they outgrow my

raging hands? Two hands multiplying. Three sets of hands

crackling like firewood. One wrist clogged in sawdust. Two palms

striving to hang on to something. No brittle bursting into sunlight

I cap my hands from. No surrender. No salve no salve no salve


Zain Author Photo.jpg

Zain Alizai

Zain Alizai, (he/him) lives in Pakistan. His work has appeared in Feral, riggwelter, Rigorous Magazine, Counterclock Magazine, seafoam magazine along with two Indian anthologies titled Fledglings and Bhor. He was also Adroit 2020 Mentorship Alum for Poetry. His debut chapbook is forever in the process because he's a college freshman who spends all his day on Zoom.

You can find him on Twitter @zaynulalladin and on Instagram @lewaneyzai.

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