Poem of the Week

The Eye Theater Closes Its Doors, and Opens Them Again



Sara Elkamel

I took too long to interpret them,
so the dreams stopped coming.

One that lingers is of the two
stray kittens, forgotten without food.

At the center of the dream is my future
body—the old anxiety again.

One of the kittens grows an abscess so foul
it almost ends the dream.

Unfazed by hunger, the other soaks in light
like a cloud. Eyes green as distance.

I run between them like a clown.
Useless as a paper sailboat.

Near the end, my body is a house
of idle organs—a void desert mountain.

Maybe the cats were men—
maybe I was their mother.

And doesn’t every dream mother write
not one, but two, biographies?

A writer once said when endings fail
it’s because you haven’t made a decision.

I’ve decided the dream was a prison
that once was a garden—or a young

old woman’s bargain.


Note: The title of this poem comes from “Eye Theater Closes Its Doors, and Opens Them Again” a photo-performance and installation by Rheim Alkadhi, developed for the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, 2015.

Sara Elkamel is a poet, journalist, and MFA candidate at NYU living between Cairo and New York City. Her poems have appeared in The Common, MQR, Four Way Review, Best New Poets 2020, and Best of the Net 2020.
Originally published:
October 13, 2021

Featured

Essays

Race Off

The fantasy of race transformation
Namwali Serpell

Essays

Suicide in Fiction, Reconsidered

Why we need stories about living after a suicide attempt
Morgan Thomas

Conversations

Discipline and Abolish

Writing, power, and mass incarceration
Rachel Kushner,
Caleb Smith

You Might Also Like

Poem of the Week

(W)HOLE

Chet’la Sebree

Poem of the Week

For the Man on His Knees at The Eagle

Francisco Márquez

Poem of the Week

The Pain of Others

Hannah Aizenman

Subscribe

Become a subscriber to get four beautiful issues a year for just $49—and help keep print culture alive.
Subscribe