Two Poems


Jai Hamid Bashir








Unclarity is a type of nakedness.

A liminal state, the way night making is a ritual.


Then, red was the color of mourning. Your mouth, hot

and humbled in dissymmetry. Curled on unfurled sheets,


salted as unironed sails. Your body, uncompassed naves of water

chaunting a misremembered name, a misremembered dream.


There, your blind swims are in fresh mud, it all is faith

in not slipping down the reef of the infinite. I’ve known


your shades of sleep clear and haunted as a koi’s eye.

What is sleeping next to someone, but reaching over in a yesterday?





The Next Time We are Thrush



What will we reincarnate into next time?

         she whispered in a blue and blushed night in Harlem

as I laid on her ribs in pledge to a vast interior.


I fall easily for people with curls. As if their past

         can be loomed, each thread placated into place.

Earlier, in the kitchenette, in shooed corners,


in the ozone of the shared breath of a tent, my friend

         handed me an arepa as circular as a horse’s eye.

I told her how I’ve only ever touched the stains


of the sacred. Once, a thrush came to my window.

         The dark-spots of its song  as coppered as the center

of a woman’s breast. The gail and haunt of its canticle


awakened in me a need to know every bird. What if

         we reincarnate into thrushes? She blew out a candle,

whistling into the wax. I’d rather remain a mammal.


I set my alarm clock. We slept every Saturday night together

         like pack animals. At times, I am half-animal. I could pull back

my fur and find another colored pelt. Another sense of self:


once wrought, once caught. My now is a token of being born

         into too much thinking. Sometimes, I awaken to just think

about how the difference between altar and altered


is holding vigil for no change. Now, so far from when

         she lived in New York City, where I returned back to her street

to find her mattress sealed on the curbside, I’m still collecting


answers: the hot silk of a rabbit that maneuvers out

         of the mouth of a bear. Wild dogs with heroic smiles. Perhaps

we could be whales, highways of blood careening in the ocean.


I know each grounded tide of spring lupine, in early morning rain,

         it is not going to be forever. I’ve never awakened

in recovery from such questions. Her feral hair, curled in slant,


soft whips in my morning’s gulf. All this one life surrounds


                                    what is not caught, what is never breached.









Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir was raised in the American West.  She has published in The American Poetry Review, Small Orange Press, Palette Poetry, The Margins, Academy of American Poets, and others.  An MFA student at Columbia University in the City of New York, she writes between Salt Lake City, Utah, Washington Heights and Lahore, Pakistan.  Jai Hamid Bashir is online at



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