Jai Hamid Bashir
Feral, Untold Grace

Vultures clean the coast,
          what we couldn’t sing underwater,

we brought back in the throat
          of our afternoon. The shore shaped

by the constant carol of waves,
          like a mammal’s heart. Beached,

the baby Great White, a belly

          gray as a singing knife,

kisses each of her hissing fins
          to the sand. Recovering some altitude,

flashing her wings of cheek. Worn out

          eyes gelled with kindness.

Hurt as a cavity, stalactites
          of her teeth, some still moonset,

let out their dark light:
          I’ve done enough, it is over.

Cupping my hands
          in the geometry of a prayer,

a bedouin by by a desert spring,

          holding all of the ocean I can

to wet her breath as you find
          a bucket abandoned by a fallen castle.

You get behind and carve the sand, too.

          The back fin fanning, your feet

coiled with the same energy
          as a birth. The waves open

and the mossy slip of her tucks
          bravely into your arms, the only way

I know you know how to hold.

          Fins start to coast into

swim and she bursts into
          a glide: so common and sweet as air. 

Found In Volume 49, No. 01
Read Issue
  • Jai Bashir
Jai Hamid Bashir
About the Author

Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir was raised under the Southwest sun. She is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University in the City of New York. The recipient of the Linda Corrente Memorial Prize at Columbia University and an Academy of American Poet’s University Prize, she recently was the writer-in-residence with HesseFlatow in Amagansett, New York.