When the saints went

By Samiya Bashir Samiya Bashir
what remained: barren stalks bowing heads
by the field-full. rusty air conditioners dripping
from warped windowsills. rock formations retaining roots.

hollowed out caves and dog stumps forced ragged, toothy grins.
all ablaze. a laser show shot hot through the tinny night. every husk
wore a well lit protrusion. every breath an asthmatic thrush more material

than the silence that surrounds each carcass now: voided prayer: cold
arthritic grating: remembering notions of breath. saints: offer a hand to a
wheezing shadow: wish for someone to hold before the sure, sudden twilight.

Samiya Bashir, “When the saints went” from Gospel. Copyright © 2009 by Samiya Bashir. Reprinted by permission of RedBone Press.

Source: Gospel (RedBone Press, 2009)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Samiya Bashir

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Samiya  Bashir


An editor, writer, and communications consultant for nonprofit and arts organizations, Samiya Bashir earned a BA in the literature of American ethnic cultures from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1994. Her full-length collections of poetry include Where the Apple Falls: poems (2005) and Gospel: poems (2009); she is also the author of the chapbooks Wearing Shorts on the First Day of Spring (1999), American Visa (2001), . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.