Recorded for Poem-a-Day, February 20, 2018.
About this Poem 

“As we wrestle with questions of power, agency, our bodies, and our cultural legacies, I’ve been thinking and writing through my own questions about whether, and how, our bodies are valued or used by others and ourselves. And where do our grand callings like ‘love,’ in all its potentially violent earnestness, live in this post-post-post-post-modern era of closet cleaning, skeleton dragging, self-caring? Should those grand callings live here with us at all? And, if so, how?”
—Samiya Bashir

You’re really faithful to your abusers, aren’t you?

Like love: first you pick up; then you lay down; then discard; then discard; then discard. That’s love. Right? Did somebody say Dominoes? The problem of a street game is you. You’re already doing it wrong. Doing it wrong before you wake up. Before you walk up the street. Cross the crowded corner. Case in point: When you reach the bones table, you stop. Stare. Consider. Count. Think: This is a lovely afternoon for a friendly game of dominoes! Call next. Figure they don’t hear. Call next again. You call louder. You call in Spanish. Then you walk (again, with the walking) into the bodega. Come out with four 40oz bottles. Suddenly somebody hears. Suddenly the smell of holes burning pockets. Suddenly, the game you watch ends. Like love. Right? Somebody?

Copyright © 2018 by Samiya Bashir. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 20, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Samiya Bashir. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 20, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Samiya Bashir

Samiya Bashir

Samiya Bashir is the author of Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017).

by this poet

poem

after Z. S.

Still, somehow we are
carousel. We spin bodies
to the wall and back.

We are woman and
man and man. We
are surgeon and

operation. We are
everybody we love.
We are inside them.

We are inside and we
are laughing. We are
man and we

2
poem

Everyone up here called me crazy but
I couldn’t do nothing but what seemed right.
Crazy to fight—maybe—maybe crazy
enough to win. Every day I crouch down

into that bend I know I might not creep
out again. Tunnels eat men like penance—
like payment for letting us through       I knew