Published on Academy of American Poets (


Sea of strangers exhales.               

                                              Something natural

reorders us                without consent.           We reorder         

            the coastline.               My therapist:         

                                                           what do you feel 

 in your stomach?     In your chest?    I feel nothing.  Nothing 

matters. I touch nothing.    I’m angry.   Stop

asking.                 Have you ever stood on a shore, 

felt the water change heights?  Felt the wet sand rush to squeeze

your legs too tight? 

                               In each of us:

                                            possibility,   a knife wedged 

           under the mattress, a new strangeness, an undiscovered way 

       we could touch each other, a bird never heard before 

   singing, an untaken path, 

                                    or genesis.


Copyright © 2022 by Aliah Lavonne Tigh. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 19, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote this poem in response to a prompt poet Stalina Villarreal provided for our writing collective. Originally, the poem began, ‘The joy of standing in a crowded room,’ before continuing with ‘Sea of strangers. . .’ I wanted to remember the euphoria of a pre-Covid June dance party. I wanted to remember the pleasure of being influenced and moved by something outside of me. While this was my intention, the poem that emerged wanted to look at the complexities of our connections.”
Aliah Lavonne Tigh


Aliah Lavonne Tigh

Aliah Lavonne Tigh is a mixed Iranian American poet.

Date Published: 2022-09-19

Source URL: