Waiting on the Reading

By Samiya Bashir Samiya Bashir
Many of my race have lived long without the touch of
these fine things which separate us from beasts. Things
I call my own now. Having served thirty-six years as needleman

for a family far more ape than we will ever be, I rode
the moonlight train to find my free. Up here it is colder than I like,
but the gentlemen admire my frock coats above all. I taught my son this trade

and hope this picture I made will help retrieve him. Come summer I leave
this coast for Philadelphia where I hear we of color can breathe yet more free.
Tonight I stitch. The breeze off the bay smells of aria. It is almost the season for cloaks.

Samiya Bashir, “Waiting on the Reading” from Gospel. Copyright © 2009 by Samiya Bashir. Reprinted by permission of RedBone Press.

Source: Gospel (RedBone Press, 2009)

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Poet Samiya Bashir

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Samiya  Bashir

Biography

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), . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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