Amani Shroff

"Markhor," in watercolor, by Lauren Frame. Watercolor and pencil on paper. Full face of a markhor, also known as a screw-horned goat, with the label Pakistan above between the horns in a hand-drawn frame. Colors of yellow, pink, gray, and black.
“Markhor,” in watercolor, by Lauren Frame


it makes its way into the nicks of coat hangers
it weaves through the pockets of big cashmere coats
it ties a loop around the neck of women with manners
in loopy letters, it writes page-long notes
it hovers in the air in New York
and covers the bottles of cheap perfume
it’s the sound of a collector’s knives cutting pork
and if you don’t say, it will presume
it garners words that fall off the table, mumbled
it collects the lucent words bedecked by an accent
it kills with no aim and collects what tumbles
it is your friend, if it never mentions your sorrows

Three Dollars and Fifty Cents

these girls don’t deserve love
the girls who will never be good enough
they will never be worth that much, just three dollars
and fifty cents

“put a bandage on it”
if it hurts,
it it pains,
it it aches,
seal it up

that is what their mother tells them in the morning
when they have bleeding fingers,
bleeding arms,
blood dripping down their legs

they call us the invisible girls
we make no noise
and we do what we are told

we live in the suburbs,
where miles of crowded houses leave no space

and snow falls into the backyards of unlikely victims
and families share meals together under a single candle
and mothers kiss their children for school
and fathers use newspapers to patch the ceiling
but at the end of the day, when they check their pocket
they crumble up the hospital bill

we eat on mondays and wednesdays,
we eat what we can get

we carve love out of cardboard
and casts out of tissue paper
and thermometers out of mothers’ tired hands
and anesthesia out of biting a towel
and x-rays out of film cameras

they can sell us for three dollars
and fifty cents

keep the change

Previously published in Marin Poetry Center 2023 High School Anthology.

Amani Shroff is fourteen years old. She lives in Redwood City, California, and is a freshman at Carlmont High School. Her passion for writing began when her father bought her a poetry book. The book lit a fire that has grown. When she is not writing, she loves to try new foods, take photos, and volunteer in her community.