New poems by Zebib K.A. : “Can you write in the dark?” & “Exodus”

Can you write in the dark?

A blanket wrapped around her shoulders,
feet tucked into wool socks, loosening at the heels.
Hair braided, pulled back in a pink wrap.
The lamps outside her window spurt awake, pale orange
and cold night air leaks in through a crack, tasting of smoke and citrus blue;
it snakes up her nose.
She observes the dark heavens.

A lost child’s balloon became a blimp, rising and falling in the distance.
She pulled out her notebook from under her pillow,
beginning her nighttime ritual of writing.
The kind of writing delivered in fitful, fatigued bursts.
Those evenings before internet, before risk, before dawn,
not turning the light on, listening for steps outside the door.
Her lines invisible in the darkness, lines curved and
flourishing, swaying crooked across the page.
Writing delirious imaginings,
and in those few minutes all was possible and urgent.
Future documentaries and novels,
walks along lagoons
and this street transformed into a heath.
In the morning her words appeared to be the drunken ramblings of a fool.
A young fool, full of nectarine-rich introspections which,
illegible to others’ eyes, brought relief.
Decipherable now only to a lost logic,
those crisp nightly worlds tracing across her page.


A green fire burned in her engine room.
It spread through her
silver husk, carbon-made.
This ship, her body,
not grown, but built;
mechanical arms twisted her components
into place.
She glides through the fabric of seconds and length of darkness
as a perfect beast.
No one survives on board,
the animals fell, and then the people.
Her systems failed, her engine sparkled into flame.
The planets were abandoned long ago.
Sometimes we construct our own breakdown.

She still works just as she was meant to.
There, hidden, one human is left.
They steer,
and see into the depth of the wires.
The source of the burning.
Inside she appears like an infinite Rube-Goldberg machine,
her insides, the mechanisms of her construction.
Somehow this human survives, and sees the pattern that has
destroyed them all.

Flames swirl through her compartments.
She says forward, always forward, through the vacuum,
ss she was meant to,
Humanity recedes, everything ever known recedes.
This last human wonders
what to do in the heart of space?
The fire grows closer.
A last escape.
In case of fire, break the glass.

Bio: Zebib K. A. (she/her) is a writer and psychiatrist. She recently moved from NYC to Scotland to do a Masters in Creative Writing at University of Edinburgh. She has been published in The Rumpus, Apparition Lit, and more. She is black, queer, and comes from an immigrant background, and explores these identities in her writing.