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Faizan Syed

April 4, 2019


Curled up by the windowsill, my skin drank
the sun. Shivers clambered over my body, my teeth
like a swarm of insects. I’m not cold enough to die.

Doc the Ativan just give me the fucking Ativan or don’t

Doc there is nothing
to say to feel to do to know to see to own to kill to blame to find to burn to stay to save

Doc where were you when
…………they implanted the electrodes in my head surveilling me surveilling me like I’m some sort of child
some sort of spy on a secret mission to infiltrate your hospitals your subconscious your doubts lingering
like embers in the medical haze that is the air on this ward
they tell me I’m CIA and you’re FBI and there’s nothing either of us can do about it
they tell me someone is coming to kill me but they won’t say who, it could be
anybody, it could be you. And you ask me to trust you? Doc,
what are you, fucking crazy?

Only in dreams, I clamber out the undressed window
and sit there craving unfiltered sun. I climb up the roof
and watch the earth recede, watch you and your cars
and your ant-like bodies wander within the lines

until someone like me jumps
……………and you can say you saved me
when I bounce off the trampoline
……………or you can sell your hope for a blowjob
………………………and just watch me fall.

Doc, just this once
tell me you love me. Tell me
you cherish my presence and that I’m not a waste
of your precious fucking time. Tell me
you’re gonna help me, if not now, then someday.

Show me the window
I keep looking for. Trust
me, I can open it myself.
I will rend open the sun & eat
its core, if that’s what it takes
to escape the cold that creeps

at a glacial pace
up out of my pores
and in to yours.


We count our spines by bending their essence
and taking root. Leave behind dreamt spaces

lining the worn surface of bones, their hills
& empty valleys. She must know I love her.

{She leaves, hesitates to stay}

We trace the boundaries of our skulls. One
day, even this ocean & its unrelenting pressure

will be air, as invisible and necessary as my body.
One day I will freely gaze into the slivers of moons

behind her eyes & reflect their raw poetry, my senses
undivided. Until then, this electric night. Until stars

unfold & spill their ragged smoke-stained light all over
our sleep. Until our dreams release their blanched fists

and walk for miles over drowned islands & fields
of charred stumps over the sprawl of roofs

enveloped by low slung vines & the march
of footsteps steeped in blood-ridden mud

over the black edge of memory
that pulsates into the horizon

of those nights that still speak to you
in the language of mute dread

over ships encircled by rings
of fire over graveyards of elephants

in crowded rooms, over & over each other:
Clouds threatening rain. Bones pulled taut.

We who are searching for ourselves
must die a little death. My dream returns to me

trembling & cold, draped in black ice.
She tells me she was never mine.

In my arms, she shatters
.into stardust. Now

promise me
I will be whole.

FAIZAN SYED, MD is a poet and psychiatrist based in Queens, NY. He was awarded the Folger Adams Jr. Prize and the Graduating Poet’s Award from the University of Illinois, and he has been featured on Humans of New York. Faizan’s work has appeared in Montage Literary Arts Journal and MACE and is forthcoming in Newtown Literary and Empty Mirror. Poems he’s written in collaboration with Matthew DeMarco have been published in Dogbird Journal and They Said, an anthology of collaborative writing from Black Lawrence Press. One can find him on Instagram @drfaizansdreamery.