Prayer for TriMet Line 17

Jaye Nasir

Heaven is a fog, I know it,
I’ve bitten its earlobe,
lived in its grass stains, opened
the seam of the night, and

founds its insides hot
and pulsing. The animals
there all speaking in words
and the humans only

singing. Hell itself has histories,
libraries, due dates. So stop
optimizing your time, stop
advertising—if you’re gonna lie

at least put your heart into it.
I’ll only swallow what’s
covered in blood. I’ll only sleep,
dream, forget—suddenly

I’ll remember, try to write
it down, bungle the cadence,
feel euphoric anyway.
Thinking on the bus, thinking

as I’m running late to my low
wage job, what a terrifying gift
to be wearing this body,
talking in this voice, carrying

this collection I call a self,
making jokes, singing between
my lips, my thighs. I’m ripe
for judgment, for forgetting,

I have days laid aside for
misery, a whole season called
night, as many fears as ever
but somehow they taste

different, like the hot copper
tang of blood. What I mean
is: now nobody can convince me
out of kissing my own chaos.

You can’t eat numbers,
they’re icy cold, whereas
the night rolling by through
yellow light against glass,

man yelling at himself a row
behind me, the glowing black
eyes of my reflection—
all of this is alive and burning.

Jaye Nasir lives in Portland, OR where she spends her time writing fiction, nonfiction and poetry that blurs, or outright ignores, the line between the real and the unreal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Buckmxn Journal, Santa Clara Review, Lammergeier Magazine, Mud Season Review, Phantom Kangaroo, and elsewhere.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Seven.

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