Four Poems by Sagirah Shahid

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He won’t shut up

about figs and how they are only coffins
to mothering wasps. Crunchy exoskeletons,
sensations one might feel rubbing against teeth
are merely fig seeds. Though, I do not ask questions.

He answers my question about moonseed berries.
They look so like a lovechild between wild grapes and blueberries.
The crescent shape of their seeds means they’re the poisonous ones,
He says, while reaching beyond moonseed cluster, to devour
straight from the vine, wild grapes we have chanced upon.
The fenced away freeway rimming the nature trail, hisses.

He doesn’t know I’m hysterical about the life cycle of strawberries.
Where other fruits conceal their seeds deep within their bellies,
the strawberry flaunts its progeny like a sequenced gown.
It’s not the only fruit to do this, but it’s the one I keep coming back to.
You mothered me with every fiber of your bone, showing me how
to tend to the strawberry patch bridged along your small porch. 
Feeding me fig newtons and sunshine and Ziplock baggies of frozen grapes
and I do not know how to be a whole person without you in this world.

So, when the man who wants to kiss me, drones on about seeds
I flaunt my wingless smile and pretend I am ripe with fascination.



Sunflower starter kit, repurposed from milk jugs

So far, George Floyd Square
is never the same, week to
week, an elder sits

besides me at a former
bus bench, offers flower sprouts.



Unromanized Displacement

I have never been
citizen to a nation that
hasn’t tried to kill

me, some idea of me, my
people. Free until we aren’t.



Disposable Diaspora

This city’s winter
ends with a translation of
spring. Single frost sheets

whisper the government names
of homelands we want to feel.




Sagirah ShahidSagirah Shahid is a Black American Muslim poet from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her poetry and prose are published in Mizna, Paper Darts, Winter Tangerine, Rain Taxi, and elsewhere.

Header photo by JesusLeal, courtesy Pixabay.

Curving railroad tracks
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