National Poetry Month, Day 18: “Transparent to Visible Light” by Samiya Bashir
Transparent to Visible Light
Across the seas, and then across the
seas, an aircraft carried full and whole
a world: as far apart as their fair
hostess could achieve sat mother and
father and their little girl who sucked
a sulking, tortured curl she’d wound
around her head, smacked the frayed strands
against her lips like a lapdog kiss.
Yesterday’s news unfurled and snapped to
across her father’s lap. Read: football,
bombings, despots, plagues. His visage a
worrisome landscape. The contours of
his outstretched body, once young,
tight, had followed the sun then. Now
he chased a setting moon toward all
he left behind. His girl swallowed chunks
of hair. His wife flopped the noon away
propped against the window, pillows strewn
between hip, shoulder, neck and vapor;
eyes closed to the sky blue blanket rough
hewn with tapering three o’clock stars.
Beneath the paper stretched four-foot legs
out and away from home and toward
home, everything that lay warped and burned.
Samiya Bashir is the author of Gospel, finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the 2009 Lambda Literary Award, and Where the Apple Falls, a Poetry Foundation bestseller and finalist for the 2005 Lambda Literary Award. Bashir is editor of Black Women’s Erotica 2 and co-editor, with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana, of Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art.