Postcard to Comparison ((& Postcard to New Love))

By Emily Ahmed

31 January, 2023

Emily Ahmed is Running Dog’s poet in residence for December 2022 and January 2023.

Each month, a poet produces new work, which is distributed via Running Dog’s monthly newsletter—Stray. If you haven’t already, sign up to our newsletter.

This work is best viewed on a desktop. Please note that this piece is displayed in two columns and is designed as a parallel reading experience. For those reading on mobile, scroll right and left to move between columns.

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Postcard to Comparison
to be read in both columns

today, sitting outside the metro,
i wish someone would
paint me on this bench so
of winter
centuries from now, people
so tragic,
but you took away
to another town because
i drank from your cup,
just different, better.
“comparison is
of joy,”
wise ones warned, but they
didn’t say
she would steal your breath
and as
for her crimes,
she whisks away like a spiral
of genie’s smoke,
but that’s exactly what you did.
you swindled me
outside the metro where i now sit
beside a cat with a swollen lip,
beside a mother and her baby
and on the other side of me
at the absurdity:
every role the world assigns me
Mother, Lover, or Alone.
somebody, anybody, else in jars,
every wish,
thinking that maybe
would tire of coming by and
i could remember
outside the metro
the cat won’t even comfort me
after you stole
doesn’t even want to be petted,
the square after you flee
if this was
the cat wouldn’t have
a swollen lip or be
it would
you’ll look through
see Comparison up to her
usual tricks, she will stop
skipping, say she’s sprained
her ankle and ask if she can
used to
but you’ll say no,
not anymore.
but it doesn’t,
so i’m writing this to
then, the cat looks at me,
jumps down,
the mother and her baby are
by a friend
from the metro,
they walk
past the square, their coats
the nearest post office,
my own address is yours,
the nearest art galleries,
you’ve been hoarding.
((& Postcard to New Love))
((& the second column alone))

((someone could consider my
worst moment
would view my rendering,
so poetic,
my observer
dreamed of a girl who looked like me,
the thief
she could pickpocket you on the street, your bed,
without warning, a robber in the best dress,
she runs away
like she did you some favor.
in a blanket,
two lovers. i laugh
laid out here—
i used to store the hope of being
one day
saying, i’m just here for a drink.
without your touch.
today’s joy,
we both peer around
the scene.
a fairytale,
covered in dust,
lean over,
say to me right now,
one day
your window
come in, you
always say, yes, yes, of course
you directly
side by side
dancing in the wind,
lovers keep laughing,
look up
and then roam
the joy))