Two Poems by Samiya Bashir


White Body Radiation

Every day 

before give up
before make do  

start where a clothespin clips 
a nose and breath is held until –

What is a thing of beauty
if it isn’t us?

And if a body is hell
what then?

And if one can’t bear to look back 
at the sight of what one has come for

then the other, the retrieved, just keeps 
waltzing toward light. Right? 

Is six paces back far enough to dance? 
Is it enough? Wait –

Listen. Remember when we used to 
sing together?


Zeroth Law 

When leaning on the backyard beam
beneath a full wolf moon and my slippers 
shiver under my nightdress as I happen 
upon a reason for waking   call it a snowflake 

 a belly-flop blue jay or even my own small toe 
peeking through a not-yet hole as it fissures into 
my slipper’s future and I’m not out for a jog or 
to find a misplaced piece of scoundrel lover 

but to marry my morning coffee to 
a cigarette to a new blue-gray light 
an icy pacific year in mid-set 

See how they swinghold hands and raise the sun? 
Hey, you! Bluebird! Whatever will we do
exhale – with all of these merciful gifts?

Photo by Susan Seubert

Samiya Bashir’s work has recently appeared in Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cura, The Rumpus, Callaloo, and Encyclopedia F–K (vol. 2). Her most recent book of poems, Gospel, was a finalist for both the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and, along with her first collection, Where the Apple Falls, the Lambda Literary Award.