“Ode to Every Poem That Made Me” by Ankoor Patel

Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure

Because the first draft was every poet’s name.
And the second draft was a letter to only one of you.
But inevitably everyone else double parked between each bar.
So i threw out the paper like i throw poetry
collections across the room when they’re too good.
i leave home.  i put on clothes.  i zip up boots.

but really i wear your poems
Papier Mache over the most important parts.
And i work it in public like prayerful like bank account,

i mean, even the fit itself burned the mouth in its freshness:
Collared Shirt: so crisp it’s quantized.
Butt so hugged the pants got sore.
Collarbone: ash and draped in gold.
The look was so tight to form it could really wear itself.
So disgusting, it only could have been imagination,

with the attitude of a steel clamp’s jaw.
Nail polish so mean it’s a punchline dangerous
enough to bestow black eyes among passersby.
Even my shadow is so cute
they’re my dance partner now.
Together our body rolls punctuate each other’s unlonely.



Ankoor Patel is a Gujarati-American writer, educator, and graduate of Vassar College where they earned a BA. Born in Vallejo, CA, Ankoor is a child of im/migrants.

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