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Diodes of the cable modem haunt
the walls a watercolor now I lie awake
and listen for the tickle of the king
tide groping every jetty, for jitters
in the Nikkei Index on the other side
of night, for the boy matriculating
into a gunman in his efficiency
apartment a couple school districts over,
the barrel bombs thumping Aleppo
while I listen, too, for the rustle
and grunt of the nationalist fitful
in the dank heat of his bed sheets,
the xenophobe fretful I’m somewhere
near, honing my chopsticks, loading
my tortas, my name writ in Gurmukhi,
he fidgets wakeful, fearing I’m awake
also, reciting a scripture ruthless as his is,
and I am. I am awake and singing.

Jaswinder Bolina is author of Phantom Camera (2013) and Carrier Wave (2007). His recent poems are collected in the digital chapbook The Tallest Building in America (2014). His essays have appeared at The Poetry Foundation dot org and
in anthologies including
The Norton Reader. He teaches at the University of Miami.

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