Skip to Content

The Opposite of Holding in Breath—

By Hari Alluri

the tea in her glass. It glows the brocade. 
Her grandmother picked that tea 
on a mountain—a mountain in a war 
whose shores were her bed. Steeping, the petals 
open as if they know nothing of bullets.   


One, she works barehanded 
like aloe plants, two, on the outskirts 
of our century. She dreams of, three, turning 
a bombed out city into an afternoon nap.

Added: Friday, September 4, 2015  /  Used with permission.
Hari Alluri
Photo by Erik Haensel

Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya). A winner of the 2020 Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Poetry Fellowship for Poets of Color and an editor at Locked Horn Press, he has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and National Film Board of Canada and fellowships from Las Dos Brujas, Port Townsend, and VONA/Voices writers workshops. His work appears in the anthologies Pandemic Solidarity (Pluto) and Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis (Coach House), as well as in Apogee, Poemeleon, Poetry, Prism International, Tinderbox, The Volta, and elsewhere. Shout-outs to BIPOC Writing Community, Community Building Art Works, The Cultch & Soft Cedar, The Digital Sala, and Massy Books. Keep up with Hari at his Linktree.

Other poems by this author