1 poem

by Hadiyyah Kuma

Hadiyyah Kuma is an Indo-Guyanese writer from Toronto, Ontario and a sociology and book & media studies student at the University of Toronto. Her work has been featured in places like The Rumpus, Hart House Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Yes Poetry. Her debut poetry chapbook, tired, but not spectacularly, is available from The Soap Box Press.

Zeitgeist

I accept how bleak the zeitgeist might seem, but I deny its ability to break me 

 

Because a bottom lip on the subway makes me want to write an entire novel

 

Because I don’t believe birds truly want to be pets

 

Because when you say the seventies was the peak of music I feel the dread of listening to my father’s voice

 

But honestly if you take my hand right now, I will let you; this is rare for us

 

However. I will keep one hand scrolling through on an article on the artificial nature of emotion in Gen-Z

 

I will say no when you ask me if I think I was born in the wrong time

 

I will not be a fool for you, nor your endless love, nor an island in a stream

 

Because the light of a city park looks so nice on my holographic nail polish

 

And I don’t care about anything except reaching the end of the article before you lean in to kiss me

 

I liken you to a birdcage sometimes,

 

I think of you the way I think of missing a train

 

as the anxious primer to arriving at the station

 

Retro in the way you tuck your shirt in, makes me believe for a moment that I don’t have to write

 

because there are already novels about how well the seams fit you

 

I have never had the luxury of being a muse, I have always worshipped, or been in awe

 

This is not one of those times, I am not muse, I am not pious

 

I am just a girl in a park with somebody that hates to read but likes The Velvet Underground and Nina Simone and Debussy

 

Your leaning into me is the greatest repetition of all time (you dim your eyes for me),

 

your nose collides with my realization that we are among the most sensitive people in the world

 

I become very defensive, I throw my phone to the ground like a hot object, the way one should treat an artifice

 

The way a perceptive robot might fear its own heart, would rather watch it beat from a distance 

 

I try to explain to you that we are vulnerable people and you keep saying the word, cynic, cynic

 

Do you want me to hate you? Wait, I’m sorry, I could never hate you (a laugh)

 

Hate is just another buzzword, is all that comes out of your mouth and Vulnerability is not an antidote to hate or any other thing you think of as a disease

 

I cannot revive a conversation when it dies so I sink down beside you,

 

become the grass, and make myself the softest I have ever been, so comfortable you

 

need to lie down

 

Dimmer your eyes become, turning your chin up, clutching at a last glimpse of an evening sky, looking like every dead person who’s had famous last words  

 

I tell you what everybody knows: You need to fall asleep, or cry, or just look at that bird for once

 

You have questions like, for how long? About what? Does that bird understand how free it seems? But you don’t ask them.

 

Last words: This is not fair, hate is real, and all I want to do is leave.

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