Shazia Hafiz Ramji

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Poem for the Thief

You called on all days and asked to meet alone.

I went dancing to find men to sleep beside me.

You saw that I was no longer alone.

I saw a narrative take shape.

You had seen me map the cameras in our neighbourhood.

I still think to piss more softly, in case you can hear.

You know my paranoia from across the street.

You make me think about the colour of my skin.

Before I knew you, I thought about cameras.

After I knew you, I thought about cameras.

Coincidence is silent and fractal.

You made me think about me.

I began to fear my past sadness.

I told myself: if you listen hard enough, you can get out.

You followed me to steal my things.

You called me for months, wanting to speak, give them back.

I followed people to steal their words.

I listened and I found a way out.

You saw that I was no longer alone.

I saw a narrative take shape.

Your Face, My Sleep

The free version
of my Sleep Cycle app
tells me I haven’t
had the amplitudes
of sleepers,
that I haven’t had them
for weeks, since you
started sending me
dick pix from LA.
If I paid, I might know
more about what
comes alive, the people
whose faces I see
as I fall asleep
and catch
in waking. They are
what you and I call nothing—
they are on the street
they are at their desks
they are floating
they are flashes—
as if there is a shutter
inside me and I know
how this sounds. It sounds
like the eye-
lost in a time
scholars might call
The effect of all this
is parts missing,
of course, but also
in asking
to see
your face.

Shazia Hafiz Ramji lives on unceded Coast Salish land where she wrote her first book, Port of Being, which received the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, judged by Wayde Compton, and is forthcoming from Invisible Publishing in fall 2018. She is the author of the chapbook, Prosopopoeia (Anstruther Press, 2017), and her poetry is forthcoming in Best Canadian Poetry 2018. Shazia’s fiction received an honourable mention for the Humber Literary Review's Emerging Writers Fiction Contest judged by Cherie Dimaline and Ayelet Tsabari, where it is forthcoming, and has also been longlisted for the Fiddlehead's fiction contest. Her essays and criticism have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Chicago Review of Books, Quill & Quire, Canadian Literature, and The Hamilton Review of Books.