spent the night dreaming
of old friends, of deadlines, of
things i can’t control

Sultana’s Dream

‘You need not be afraid of coming across a man here. This is Ladyland, free from sin and harm. Virtue herself reigns here.’

Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain

spell for an old love

I want to hold something in my hands and say
— Here, this is how I love you.

Palms up, I would offer you a blue bird,
hopping, head cocked to one side,
before flying to nest high on
your windowsill;
or, pale green and white, a flower shaped like a bell
for you to press between the pages of your favorite book
until the petals turn gray;
or a smooth shell the color of sand and roses,
sea-scented and thirsty.

I think if I stood still, still
I would move toward you,
the way I stand at the shore in summertime
ocean-bound and brown.
I loved you when my bones were feathers
and my hair was long,
when my hips were slender and I didn’t know
what they were for.

I will love you when my bones are feathers again,
and when I forget how to dance.

Own that shit.

Giving up doesn’t accomplish anything. Working harder, being relentless, putting my work back out there does accomplish something. You have to be persistent. You have to trust and have faith in your writing. That voice you hear telling you that your voice is unnecessary and unworthy is fueled by fear because it is fucking scary to put your work out into the world and have that work rejected. Allow yourself to feel the fear and then dig deep into your stronger self and keep trying and keep writing and keep reaching for what you want. Don’t hide from your ambition. Own that shit.

Roxane Gay