Issue > Poetry
Jai Hamid Bashir

Jai Hamid Bashir

Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir was raised in the Southwest. Jai has been published in The American Poetry Review, Palette Poetry, The Margins, Academy of American Poets, and others. She is the recent winner of the annual Zócalo Prize for Best Poem for Place.

The Palmist


We built a private sky—
heaven was always in view. Given this one
divine love, to breathe life into.

A mudmuse rebirth, where cool set the rendezvous
from crack of clay. Look here, thick in your palm,
a flush tributary says we were a Universe

in waiting. Earth fevered: a burning blurr. Naked lips of fruit trees
toeing barefoot in creeks of stars. The angel of history sang
whistled-witness of yellow pollen. Close your hand on this

like your bloodwarmth was enough to incubate the last hatchling
of an extinct species. Close your hand on this latitude, how
mouths soften in mathematics of lips. How passion,

an asymptote, is stripping thorned crowns dawnbrambled
to make shelter for sleep. How I have found curves of you:
clinged in wet radiance on littered wishbones.

Fluke of tongues, axis in aches, in your pink lines alone
my cliffs carved like shark teeth— pure with such purpose.
And sunfish open hot zeroed mouths

to kiss bread from hands, and each superbloom says welcome. Around
Christmas, unbutton the front of my dress as I hold
a mewing newborn close to my marrowed sun I hadn't lit,

sings me to another season of life. I don't know about half-gods,
but on the seventh night of the same dream you came
reading chains of my constellations— an erratic geometry

to redraw. Is that you humming? On a moving red mountain,
riding on sagespotted plateaus—
or just an apiarist's dream? Close your hands on this belief:

our species is capable of salvation. Awakening in pools
of pearled sweat, running barefoot, dazed as a caught housefly, to hives:
sheets icy gold to noticed prayer— bees returned.

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