B-Line Espial by Shazia Hafiz Ramji

A silver flake from the surveillance cam above me
fell into my lap on the bus.

It was not made of light, but I don’t know
where it disappeared. In my glimpse

of espial, I saw the necessity of doubling,
so I waited to see myself in all the people

who departed. But they stepped off too fast,
or I was just tired. Wet lights on the window

slunk into each other, like a taboo on fingers
stringing a rosary. The guy next to me was editing a photo

of his girlfriend. It was backlit and we could see
the sleep in her hair. He saw me looking and smiled.

I was banking on memories of love to respond,
but I was a body with insides

of red ginger, stuck on the bus with a stranger who had
seen someone—I mean, really seen her. I began to look
at those who were arriving. I smiled at a few.

One of them sat down, expectant, like a statue in the rain.
On Broadway, I saw others looking at a drone overhead.


Copyright © Shazia Hafiz Ramji. Originally published in Port of Being (Invisible Publishing, 2018).


Shazia Hafiz is the author of Port of Being (Invisible Publishing), a finalist for the 2019 BC Book Prizes (Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize). It was named by CBC as a best Canadian poetry book of 2018 and received the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Shazia’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Best Canadian Poetry 2019, and Quill & Quire. She is at work on a novel.

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See the League’s 2019 Book Awards Shortlists here.