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Red Paint

/jai hamid bashir

I Dream A Highway

Love is the only confirmation we have for our Earth’s future known only now by faith. Under uncommon stars I am wildered in bliss

of each crowbar and fence undug in tunnel to your heart. And there, just this: glitterfreeze surrender of each comet.

Whatever sky has ever meant is the dark pasture in the warm evening of your hair. The origin of cursive is your curls.

If I knew your piano desk, I’d run the sunk creek of your blue jean shirt unraveled. In brief, silvered vision I heard that water in the night and in the rain. Trees rise with sweet moss in new directions. Sugared trumpet of your panther’s throat sings me through this quiet world,

and when we arrive free again in our soft cars and sacred unsplit feral roads on perfect gasoline on the coast that causes no pollution, know we have always been similar strangers to this life’s theatre,

shifting on opposite ends of the curtain. Know that your eyes are two moons that I swim under. In the steady gait of the last panther

in American fields, enter my life’s gate: slip away each foal like magic.

Elegy With a Possible Future in It

I slept with an echoing fire. It was then after moon entered the slopes of my tent. Walking into naked light, stars all fallen like lips of a tired orchid. Gravity was invented for you. To keep you

tethered somehow and always. I hum a firm treadle of my own circulating bloodsong. The blue phantom helps unstitch the campsite. I uncircle the fire, I unribbon the swing of food

no wild thing ate. I know lichens and mushrooms, I’m sewn in their quietest tongues. Grief is a stillness through which I keep pulsing my feet.

My heart is a hoof. Kneeled in the thick of honey in knowing you could be blossom now stupid and pollinated from mad buzz of bees making sugar from wounds.

I get in my truck. Enter my own house so quietly. Ma’s uncaged yellow finches clean one another on top of thin orbit of silver jar lids. Jams clear- pink as fish

cold eggs. Smell of coffee comes through the walls, circling like black wolves. I felt a soft rush.

A feather in your cup.

Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir was raised in the Southwest. Jai has been published by The American Poetry Review, Palette Poetry, The Margins, Academy of American Poets, and others. An MFA student at Columbia University in the City of New York, she recently received the Linda Corrente Memorial Prize. She also is recent winner of an Academy of American Poets University prize and is the 2020 winner of the Zócalo Prize for the Best Poem about Place.

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