Blackbox manifold

Issue 15: Amaan Hyder

The Clot


What is a fit?

A holy thing is a fit.

A life is a fit.

I hear fifty machines stitching,

inking a grip.

Someone came to the door.

Someone was listening to us.

When I wake I am told what happened.

I pressed eject, mouths my father.

I pressed enough, mouths my mother.

She leaves in a car that shoots light.


What is a fit?

Someone trying to believe is a fit.

A life is a fit.

I’m sitting at the dining table.

I don’t know what the words mean

but I know the letters. This is alif,

this is beh, this is the sword that

shoots light. Yes, that’s right, I nod.

I can see my father in the hallway

signing the channel to be recorded.

My father is a video forwarded.

My mother is a video recorded over.

Do you remember ejecting a tape,

the ribbon crackling behind it?

That’s the currency. A snippet

of preface notes. Someone making

a face in belief is a fit.

One country and then another is a fit.


In America, there are Mayo and Baylor.

There is a video of opinion meeting itself.

They request you rewind as a courtesy.

So I’m sitting at the dining table.

I don’t know what the words mean

but I know the letters. There is my father

interrogating after.

There is my mother and what’s going on

behind our heads. There are the letters

passing through my fingers:

this is a house, this is an ox’s head.

This is beh, this is alif.

Inheritable Landscape


Can I run round? Yes you can run round,

but Mohammed, can you come here?

Let me tell you where you can run round.

A pot handle. Or a cup handle

designed for if you don’t want

to put your hand in the fire.

A ladder of buzzers.

This machine, I tell you.

He will not be your friend. Not at,

but not unhappy.

I’m blinking out an eyelash.

Blinking out tourists is the taxi.

It’s the Smoke. Late in the movement.

Citizens of carbohydrate,

hopeful connoisseurship.

Don’t copy me I’m a bad

crosser of roads was an opener.

It was during a sculling lesson

on a lake the other side of town.

The instructor kept on turning

to X to ask my name.

Kept on using the spoon

that’s been in the rice.

Don’t pass it, he stared.



The unmentioned is

that I’m jake with everyone in this ballad.

I tried tracking them down last month

but it’s odd they left on the assumption

the stats have aligned.

Sameer’s grown, got his own

how’s your bottom?

How do I not leave them, pocket-sore,

and get to you?

On the spine of a street: two bikes,

excited. Two at festivals.

You’re going to look back and

I’m going to look back and

there’s been this van up and down

past the shop really slow.

I’m excited to see our raspberries are

ready and they shouldn’t be ready

for another month.



Why do I remember the original,

forget the eight bars of the harmonium?

Feroze pointed out that I never

slept with my arms by my sides, hands

collecting signatures across

the diaspora. Everywhere arthritis,

WhatsApp fallings out.

The interview began

as a conversation between

lust overcoming fear walking

in the house at night.

I emailed it to myself and forgot

by nineteen I knew the country was all

have they called Y to menswear?

As if we’re not busy?

Hence the garb. Hence the drag,

hence the dross.

We need to encourage people to join

the grass roots. Save announcements

of change, it has made a mockery of

all of us. And apropos plunges:

what’s it like to soak in milk?

Do you open your eyes?

Do you see white? Do you

feel it in your bones?

Amaan Hyder’s poems have appeared in Poetry Review, The Rialto and POEM.