In a midnight thirst I arrived, I became older,
and what else? The angel of most boring things.
Strands of my Mediterranean braid by my bed.
My grays curled like an animal sleeping.
On the fur of night’s escape, the moon finds itself
a partner in the mirror. Comes in like hairs,
on these sheets, on my hands. All this age
won’t make me a roving shadow; my meadow-
mind in a warm and furious bloom.
Bare feet fault over floors wiped clean.
The halls are a long dark throat
and each rich syllable arrives
from inside the house. Call me girl. A sound warm
enough to clean a fraction in an iceberg. A word—
takes more of the body to create than woman.
To be a girl is to be a fever. I am that pulp
of tongue and lips and the dark fuzz. Girl is a curling
and unrolling the tongue. I am that vowel moondrunk
and howling to be heard. To be a woman or a girl
is the knowledge you have been hungry your entire life;
you were expected to eat the plate, too.
Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir has been published by The American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Guernica Magazine, Academy of American Poets, and others. Jai is a graduate of Columbia University and the recent winner of awards such as Zócalo’s Ninth Annual Poetry Prize.