Last spring, I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Charif Shanahan at the AWP conference, when we were both invited readers for a reading sponsored by our publishers. I’m excited that his poem Ligament appeared in The New York Times Magazine in the fall. He’s currently a Stegner fellow at Stanford, and I run into Charif from time to time, when I’m in California.


By Charif Shanahan

Even after she cut into my shoulder

Coldly, with a scalpel, resetting my clavicle,

Tying it down with borrowed ligament and screwing it

Into place, even after she sutured me shut,

Sewing the two banks of skin across the thin blood river,

Watching me sleep the chemical sleep

Until tender and hazy I awoke — Even after all that,

What seems the least plausible is how

She had known, walking into that white room,

To put her hand for just a second in my hand.

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Ligament appeared first in the New York Times Magazine