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Bashir, Samiya

Bashir, Samiya


Samiya Bashir is the author of Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017), and Gospel (2009) and Where the Apple Falls (2005), which were both Lambda Literary Award finalists. Her poetry, stories, articles and editorial work have been featured in numerous publications most recently including PoetryWorld Literature TodayEcotone, HOAX, The Offing, and Poet Lore among others.

Bashir is a founding organizer of Fire & Ink, an advocacy organization and writer’s festival for LGBT writers of African descent. She is also the editor of Black Women’s Erotica 2 (2003) and co-editor of Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art (2002), with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana.

In 2011 she was a recipient of two Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan and the 2011 Aquarius Press Legacy Award, given annually in recognition of women writers of color who actively provide creative opportunities for other writers.

Bashir currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing at Reed College.

A small matter of engineering



The old water tower once stored

every drop we lived on. Its walls


dark capped bricked beige as

supermarket pantyhose still rise


erect astride the main drag

where our road splits between


opposing camps. On this side

everything gone as long as anyone


remembers and winter still cold

as it’s ever been. On the other side?


Listen. You’ve always had the broadest

swath of the river, friend. Thing is: we’re


still here. Whatever else you’ve got left —

well — let us stay parched. G’head, I dare you:



Previously published in Ecotone 10.2, Issue 19, 2015

Consequences of the laws of thermodynamics



When Albert Murray said

the second law adds up to

the blues that in other words

ain’t nothing nothing he meant it


not quite the way my pops says

nomads don’t show emotions

but more how my grandmother

warned that men like women


with soft hands blood red

nails like how Mingus meant

truth if you had time for it

facts if you got no time that


years pass. Zero

one two three and

the man you used


to flirt with you

no longer flirt with

thank goodness.


He’s now a man

you can’t wear

your jaw out on


about weather

news or work


a perfect






a peck.


Previously published in Poetry Magazine, April 2014

Blackbody curve



Stairs: a rushed flight down thirty-eight; French doors unlocked always.


Always: a lie; an argument.


Argument: two buck hunters circle a meadow’s edge.


Edge: one of us outside bleeding.


Bleeding: shards of glass; doors locked.


Locked: carpet awash with blood.


Blood: lift and drop; a sudden breeze.


Breeze: its whistle though bone.


Bone: the other was looking at —


Bone: cradle to catch drips.


Drips: quiet as a meadow fawn.


Fawn: faces down each hunter each gun.


Gun: again.


Again: somebody call someone.


Someone: almost always prefers forgetting.


Forgetting: an argument; a lie.


Lie: a meadow; a casement; a stair.


Previously published in Poetry Magazine, January 2016


Field Theories (forthcoming Spring 2017, Nightboat Books)

Gospel (RedBone Press, 2009)

Where the Apple Falls (RedBone Press, 2005)

Hopwood Poetry Award (The Hopwood Program at the University of Michigan)

Legacy Award (Aquarius Press / Willow Books)

Lesbian Poetry Award (Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice)

Hurston/Wright Legacy Award (Finalist, Gospel)

Lambda Literary Award Finalist (for Gospel)

Lambda Literary Award (Finalist for Where the Apple Falls)