Vulnerability Study

by Sara Elkamel

Sara Elkamel is a poet and journalist living between her hometown, Cairo, and New York City. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University. Elkamel’s poems have appeared in The Common, Michigan Quarterly Review, Four Way Review, The Boiler, Memorious, wildness, and as part of the anthologies Best New Poets 2020, Best of the Net 2020, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3: Halal If You Hear Me, and 20.35 Africa: Vol. 2, among other publications. She was named a 2020 Gregory Djanikian Scholar by The Adroit Journal, and a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest in the same year. Elkamel is the author of the chapbook Field of No Justice (African Poetry Book Fund & Akashic Books, 2021).

after Solmaz Sharif

before i light it the cigarette you rolled
coming loose in my hand

red granite rocks self-
seeding outside the sea

mama without her eyebrows
hours before dina’s wedding

the general mutilating
a lone acacia in his sleep

a bruised eggplant
sizzling on the stove

the prisoner’s strays memorizing
the walls before his release

a woman deleting nudes
as the skies turn bronze

the mother stuffing pigeons
days before visitation

the last of the sinai primrose
sustain the hypothesis of historic isolation

from the unlit open sea the prisoner
rocking himself conscious

your tobacco shiftless
in my open fist


Sara Elkamel is a poet and journalist living between her hometown, Cairo, and New York City. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University. Elkamel’s poems have appeared in The Common, Michigan Quarterly Review, Four Way Review, The Boiler, Memorious, wildness, and as part of the anthologies Best New Poets 2020, Best of the Net 2020, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3: Halal If You Hear Me, and 20.35 Africa: Vol. 2, among other publications. She was named a 2020 Gregory Djanikian Scholar by The Adroit Journal, and a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest in the same year. Elkamel is the author of the chapbook Field of No Justice (African Poetry Book Fund & Akashic Books, 2021).

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