About Changes Review

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Two by Kaleem Hawa


I ask her
how she dreams,
and, thinking for a moment,
“in touch,”  she replies,
to which I respond,
to which she says,
“sort of like swimming,” 
to which I ask,
“doesn’t swimming feel
like an absence of touch?”
to which she says,
“when you swim the shallows of the ocean, when you feel the sand, and the algae, and the foam, and the salt, or when you swim in a lake, when you feel the reeds, and the bubbles, and the stray leaves, and the breeze, what would you call the sensation?, and later, when you’re finally out, would you say that these things are easily forgotten…”
She trails off,
“…or do they stay with you, whispering?”
Surprised, I fall silent,
and so does she,
reaching out her fingers,
and tracing the creases in my hand.

The Composition of the Fourth Twelve

after Andrei Monastyrski

6x2 + 5x + 2 = 0,
millions of people, broken down
into a quadratic formula.

He says to me:
two halves
of a rowboat,
double chin-throats.

Solve it and you solve the conflict,
get it wrong and you die.
It’s like if the twenty impossibles
of the Moscow Conceptualists
were elementary poetry:



Far better to forget
the sum total miseries of one’s life
than to sit quietly with them.

Kaleem Hawa writes about art, film, and literature.

Words in italics are borrowed from “Composition of Seventy-Three,” Andrei Monastyrski, Elementary Poetry (2019).