Night Birds

By Nanya Jhingran

Sirens wail all night on these streetsblanketed
(as in, humiliated)
by day’s hurried departure.
Dusk, we say, and the streetlights go on,
or don’t.

Pieces of the leaving light break off and
window by window
lights up the city’s circuit-board,
pitches its small perimeters of protection.

Three blocks over
a corner lot’s surplus and some neglected bits of
sidewalk       reappropriated (by whom?)

into a small park in which a brown leather loveseat
its once-animal skin again sap-drenched
& shivering under a lofty cedar.

To be ec-static means literally to be outside oneself,
insists the theorist,
and what spills over is scripted into another

metaphor for possibility. A young boy keeps
measure of time by the changing view out the window:

old houses carefully emptied then decimated,
a great hole there dug out from which
the fluorescent apartment buildings rise

until his window peers into another’s
and the blinds must hereon stay drawn.

Some dreams a city bites into like fresh fruit
and spits out what seeds get in the way. Does some savvy

critter by cover of night gather these
discarded germs, these devalued futures,

& run them along its invisible maplines
until a garden blooms in the gutters?

Headshot of Nanya Jhingran

Nanya Jhingran (she/they) grew up in Lucknow, India and now lives and writes (as an uninvited guest) on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples in Seattle, WA. They are a PhD Candidate in Literature and Culture at the UW where they study diasporic and transnational feminist creative practices and ask how these practices build relational and imaginative infrastructures for decolonial and anti-colonial ways of living. When they are not writing, reading, cooking for their friends, or walking around the city, they can be found playing with their cat Masala. Their poetry and other writing has been published at The Boiler and Kajal Magazine, and are forthcoming with New Limestone Review, Poetry Northwest, Snail Trail Press, and Honey Literary Mag, among others.

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