by Zara Maher

seeing stars with parched mouth, volatile volition for
choices to make but making decisions these days is
jumping off the carousel and onto an Amtrak with ?
for a destination, wind in my skin and floppling curls
when I turn to check if any stop is It, free-falling down
the grassy mesa across from catholic university’s regal
inky blue basilica and at the open mic down the road,
dusk against a magician’s sun setting in along with my
migraine from too many gods and too many goddamned
choices, ricochet to being stoned into my bones on 18th st’s
yuppie bar that smells like a generic sadboy’s basement
and trying to remember if I’ve always been so woozy or
if this cursed city turned me into a lush, lugging around
incorrigible tummy bloat and the sense I should be doing
something new as I pirouette to another happy afterhours
or yet another essay on why policymakers should care
about the singularity when I’m having a hard time
remembering if I ever cared about anything, but I can’t
explain that to the frat boys on the Hill or to the drunk
girls in the nightclub bathroom, or explain that I refuse
to be defined by the career I trafficked everything for and
that what I lack in ambition I compensate for in the spirits
I stole dumpster-diving for meaning and burning all the way
out, but the red white and blue fireworks every summer eve
sure are something and the june bugs cackling into the night
make eye contact every time and while the Sisyphean
stair stepper makes my thighs thunderous I wonder if I’ve
been acting like the boulder when really I’ve been majnun,
faking a free-fall when I’ve been damning myself crazy by
trying to make sense of how to move on from unrequited
desire, but it’s so easy to dwell on loss rather than thinking
about a life wanting anything else, and in canon, did majnun have
choices to make? Did majnun find peace as a poet away from
the oasis of his departed lover, could he right an eternity
of remorse, if so can I write a piece that helps me
sober up, suckling the chili lime powder off tortilla chips
in the desert of this ghost city’s soul, and remember
how to wade shallow waters again and if I ever wanted
to be an engineer of the machine, why I treasured watching
fog dissipate cotton-candy-like between my gilded teeth,
tortoiseshell maine coon in arms and dead paramours
between my eyes, record scratch back to the train when
the conductor asks where I want to go and I say any stop

Zara is a poet from Georgia currently living in DC. Her creative work has been published or is forthcoming in Mizna, Funicular Magazine, Hobart, and elsewhere. In her free time, Zara likes to read, hike, and seek the silver linings. You can find her at https://bintmaher.weebly.com