Samiya Bashir is the author of Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017), among other titles. The recipient of fellowships from MacDowell, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among other organizations, she serves as the executive director of Lambda Literary.
Blah blah blah
there was a plague.
again. gwen called it
better than the alternative:
to live. you’d never know
so many of us do. despite ourselves
everyone has a story. when june asked
what we should do those of us who
did not die i imagine what she’d say
if i answered: lie around drunk and bake
bread; make cookies; never quite spread
the tight space that crushes us.
put my foot in the grass. press
toward grounding. pull back flesh
like hot ice. on the boiled side of melt.
it was cold it was hot it blazed
and that was before the never-
ending today of plague ran viral.
everywhere people with all
the anger all the guns feel
outnumbered. listen: they are.
i guess we’re just supposed to talk
about all this bullshit now. but
the leaves this autumn: incredible!
how they too flaunt flames deep
into december like they know
how fast we forget our own spilled
blood. walk beneath the canopy of me. see how
i hover how i don’t so much block light as scatter light
how i kitten yarn batter light. as fofie would say
if for just one day we didn’t have to earn
for just one day then who do we (want
to) become? brown and green and recent
rainwet sets everything alight like
the untoward way raindrops flash and prick
each bit of waning sunlight when i come back
around and meet myself after all this baking
in the new dark—do i just assume, june, that
i can remember to swim or let the current
pull me down again? here we insist
today did not happen here through
all of today’s happenings here.
tfw you know horrible things happened
but you can’t remember them
tfw you remember horrible thing after horrible thing
and still you think: nope—that’s not the one
tfw there’s nothing left but feeling—
no thought—just paralysis—and feeling
tfw there’s nothing left to feel
and nothing in the lap for breakfast
so it turns out i’m allergic to society
as a whole. when in doubt, they say,
go back in time. when i wanna feel safe
i figure i should want something else.
everywhere i go everyone i see could be
a shooter and my breasts beneath
bulletproof vests squeeze the breath
outta me. tomorrow is another country
even there the philosopher’s
stone ain’t stone: bottoms out
unexpectedly. i can’t forget water
while i drown so why does today’s silence
engulf so unseen and unsmelled and even
then tomorrow is not even there. maybe
this quiet is a star. our outer space
treaties are older now
than my whole generation. just as outdated.
just as orbited by garbage and left
to rot with our every epizootic breath.
it is, our leaders—ha?—hee?—say, what it is.
in rome i had a red feather boa.
i’d tickle your nose with my loosy-
goosy feathers. i ruled the stage, honey.
long gone now, how it blazed.