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“Obstacle Sleep”

There was a swimming pool. I was dead.
There was a Good Dancing Time. I was dead.
I applied for a visa but was told I was thirty
thousand dollars short from being dead.
Now I wish there was an application process
for a water bed. It should hold all my fish
and my pets. It should also double as a casket.
Here is my resume. Look, I am so fleshed.
All this work makes my mind so freshed.
Behind this skin, I am still my skin.
I shed and shed. The sky is throwing water
bombs. I strap them around my chest.
All I have got to do now is run
into men and go Splash Splash.
There is no meaning in too much meaning.
There is no sound in too much yell.
I smoke. I high.
With eyes closed, I pray fajr in my bed.



There was  a  longing  in the carvings of the knife my mother held against the fruit. She peels with quiet permission. It is the only thing she can eat right now.  The  apple  is shy, red only in  spots, still  alive without its season. Earlier in  the day,  I  ate without touching from a tree– some hanging  game  with  my hands tied behind my back, the  apple stalk noosed  by  a single white  thread, and my mouth snapping to catch the fleshed body at sway. Grossed heavy in spit and juice, all  that  is my mouth drips down my chin. It sugars the dead leaves of autumn fall, dampens the soil enough for it to hold close my drenched voice.  I  am  the animal,  my  mother  my beast. I am licking the oceans away, howling off this distance, scavenging  for gratitude  on shadowed  days.  On  my finger lies another finger: a soft brown hook clinging like a seedling to  its  earth, an adjoining to a fractured limb and bone, a  root inseparable from its origin.


Ayesha Raees is a 2018-2019 AAWW Margins Fellow. She identifies herself as a hybrid creating hybrid poetry through hybrid forms. Her work strongly revolves around issues of identity, class, and race while possessing a strong agency for accessibility, education, and change. Raees cultivates relationships between the word and the image through form & structure, and filmic visual imagery such as Video Poetry. Shortlisted for the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize, her poems have appeared in Cherry Tree, Blue Bonnet Review, and elsewhere. A graduate of Bennington College with a degree in Film & Animation, and Poetry & Playwriting, Raees was born in Lahore, Pakistan and currently resides in New York City. She tweets at @skunkbabepoet.

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