Leila Chatti


I charm myself
into a trance and—ta-da!
I’m gone again.

I’m a film of iridescence. I’m a bubble
in a room that shatters

if it touches me—everything
shiny, shiny, more
nothing than air.

If asked to speak, someone speaks
and they speak from where
I used to be. Oh, I think I’m done being

a person, I’d rather be flattened
by the palm of God—

I blink the world back to smoke.
I shed my feelings like a coat.

Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of the chapbooks Ebb (Akashic Books, 2018) and Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editors' Selection from Bull City Press. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, The Frost Place, and the Key West Literary Seminar, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Cleveland State University, where she is the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing. Her poems have received awards from Ploughshares' Emerging Writer's Contest, Narrative's 30 Below Contest, the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize, and the Academy of American Poets. She is the Consulting Poetry Editor for the Raleigh Review and her work appears in Ploughshares, Tin House, American Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere.