You arrived early on motorcycle, the cats and dogs
recognized you from the last time. In holed gloves, you hand
treats for the prattle of old mammals that adore you
like infants seeking nipples in feral vowels.
They gnawed at your fingers. You are used to it by now.
You came into the kitchen to split herbs, like bouquets
from a new lover, and place them into jars to regrow
their roots. Preserved grists of a tender mass, benign,
then blossom into wet, fantastic Roman candles.
We eat handfuls of slippery letter c’s of peach with goat cheese.
The strings of sprouts stuck on peanut butter on apples.
You make exceptions for Mexican coke. I love McDonalds.
If we keep this love going, I will never have to kill
anything on my windowsill again. After dinner,

past the snared candlestub, pressing your print
into the wax, past the north air that brought in calls
of howled chants of travel songs. We go to the lake.
In gentle folds, we peel off each other’s clothes, stubborn
as dandelions, sober fire as their yellow. Can you hear it?
Unbraiding my hair. Again. There, a dim roar — wavelengths
of a newborn nova or faint canto of an eaglet. You look at me
in a drunk, milky way. The same intoxicated eyes
of the abandoned fox I nursed back to health. Bringing
fingers to your mouth, sucking hard with wild intensity —
just that simple to love. I don’t want a husband,
I’d like a zookeeper. Who feeds, wants, and plays
with each of my animals. Then, buries them with garlands
perfected by a moon that arrives in tallies of starshine.

Who sees it all to the end.


Cover Art by Yunha Hwang

Jai Bashir

Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir was raised in The American West. Jai 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.

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