top of page
Untitled design_edited_edited.jpg

If a shadow appears in darkness the darkness must be light

—Shannan Mann

If a shadow appears in darkness the darkness must be light

I am alarmed by my own name,

a shark fin slivering the ocean 

of these nights between us.

Your voice is all song in love,

prayer in pain. Again, a filthy

feather has blown by our window.

The book of omens gives this

no name. I bend beneath water,

bend beneath your pain, dream

about bridges, airplanes, Bombay

rain foaming all the creatures

of the ocean to its surface.

Slow-dissolving — this poison

in my veins. When I questioned

you, you told me your name. 

There is no destiny in the stars,

keep your afterlife in the back

pocket. I have no deck of cards,

no matchsticks, no mantras —

what flame will I bathe

the evil eye in? Once more, 

once again, let me show you how 

to spell my name. Everything begins 

in silence — to let it end the same?


SHANNAN MANN is the Founding Editor of ONLY POEMS. She has been awarded or placed for the Palette Love and Eros Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize, and Auburn Witness Poetry Prize among others. Her poems appear or in Poetry Daily, EPOCH, Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast and elsewhere. Her essays appear in Going Down Swinging, Tolka Journal, and elsewhere. She also translates Sanskrit poetry. Currently pursuing her MFA at Virginia Tech, she’s also a Project Lead over at Chill Subs.

bottom of page