Latif Askia Ba

JUNE 26, 2021

I roll through these Brooklyn streets

and see an old friend.

Perhaps, perhaps,

we will pour ourselves wine

and fill each other in.

But tonight, I sit with the people I’ve sat with for a small eternity.

I sit, smiling with saké on my tongue. The night sky is high and nodding off.

I smile at the moon, at the wine, at the neighborhood junkie. I have tasted the

flesh of scallion pancakes and curry cucumbers—complements of the

chef. But what is this thing

stuck in my eyes? Who is this whale

that swims across my stomach?

They call it gloom, doom, depression. I don’t call it

anything. I want

a strange body to hug me. I want to touch strange legs

with strange hands. I want

to get high in Marseille and eat cheese and pastries.

I want to take a train from Brooklyn to Berkeley. I want

to sit alone in a seedy motel. I want

to be still at last, to dance at last, to run at last, to jump at last, to look in the mirror

and have nothing to say. Finally,

this body, finally, this body, nothing

but this body, ripe at last.

The night like a warm blanket with nothing to do

and nothing to say—this body—and no one

to tell it to.

This body

waits so beautifully—

my chemise, unbuttoned

like wine.


LATIF ASKIA BA is a poet with Cerebral Palsy from Brooklyn & Staten Island, New York. He’s currently living on the Upper West Side, working on an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University. The bulk of his work explores the culture, language, and philosophy of Disability.