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About this poet

Samiya Bashir is the author of three collections of poetry including Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017). She teaches at Reed College and lives in Portland, Oregon.

John Henry crosses the threshold—

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
my life would be short would be fast but each

shaft of light that snuck through the cracks I smacked
in them walls kept me going and led me

right back—swinging—up this yap and folks thought
I was crazy try’n’a dream us up a
future even if I couldn’t see it
through all that dust       those sudden
                                                                           shouts and screams.

From Field Theory. Copyright © 2017 by Samiya Bashir. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Nightboat Books, www.nightboat.org.

From Field Theory. Copyright © 2017 by Samiya Bashir. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Nightboat Books, www.nightboat.org.

Samiya Bashir

Samiya Bashir

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

by this poet

poem
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:
2
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