Several Small Lights

The wind smokes my cigarette for me        & then the rain

puts it out         My throat hurts anyway          I’m probably coming down

with a cold         & indulging in mild forms of self-destruction is good

for avoiding the harsher kinds         I have a friend who sits under an acorn tree

& waits for one to bulletpoint her skin         I can only write about pain conceptually

because everything else is so small a rain drop could put it out        Everything

inside me is so tiny you could put it out with your thumb         & forefinger

& not even feel the pinch         The copper mine in a penny        The lit-up window

of my Minnesotan grandmothers cabin         Behind it         the whole family decided

they were proud of me for calculus         & for the violin        & then

a few years later         disappointed         about the godlessness         & the women

before we turned out the lights         My chemicals slanted         pills changed

from little blue to little yellow         There’s no last call on conversation in grandma’s

kitchen         In the quiet that snow makes all around a wooden house         she

tells me how much she adores Ellen DeGeneres         the wink in her voice means

she knows         & here with the switch down         & gin-drunk men all asleep

it’s alright         more than alright         It’s like the time I was six on the dock         & she

asked me to count the stars in the sky together         & I said Grandma         You can’t count

the stars in the sky         they’re infinity!        & she said I was the most special         I lick

my wounds like a kitten         three times or more daily         let sleep call me in         & out

for the rest        I purge special         & unique from my body like lightbulbs chattering

& giving up         A squeeze before nothingness         & maybe a last glitter

in the broken glass         Squash the junebug when she’s already

down to get the brightest neon out of her dying


Dana Alsamsam is a queer, Syrian-American poet from Chicago and an MFA candidate at Emerson College. She is assistant poetry editor at Redivider and editorial assistant at Ploughshares. Dana's chapbook (in)habit is forthcoming from tenderness, yea press and her poems are published or forthcoming in Poetry East, Hobart, DIALOGIST, The Collapsar, Blood Orange Review, Bad Pony Mag, Oxidant Engine, Cosmonauts Avenue, BOOTH and others.