Illustration by Kat Morgan

Listen:

The hot night orbits like a fan. Our world glides on
uncertain fins. We once watched a fish’s bored pilgrimage
in wet zeroes. The cold gold coin of its mouth. Then, we vowed

strong in the vowels of hunger, to be free. Ourselves,
outside of circles, outside of a dead serpent in a boot.
I once was a small animal you left a dish out for that stayed.

I knew only the numb immolate murmur of a subway sun
illuminating plastic seats. Then, you fed asylum
and emotions I could taste, your banners of wild stars.

Drawn by young blood and the song of riverlight,
there had been half-gods we never meant to love.
So, we stay in the redeeming stains of strewn sheets.

Unbuilding each rampart of our small, animal hearts.
We shelter our names in devoted elision, to give roof
and truth that they could be the same. We were the same.

Jai Hamid Bashir

Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir was raised in the American West. Jai has been published by The American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Wildness, The Margins, The Academy of American Poets, and others. A graduate of Columbia University in the City of New York, she writes between Salt Lake City, Washington Heights, and Lahore.