Anti-Drone Niqab Made From Silver
 
tarik dobbs

Winner of the 2020 Peseroff Prize

Thermal surveillance means to track information about people by sensing the heat radiating from their bodies and their activities. From the dystopian horrors of total surveillance, this poem shimmers in couplets, making its own privacy and interiority, tenderness and wonder.  ​

 

Oliver Baez Bendorf

Items are fabricated with silver-plated fabric that reflects thermal radiation, enabling the wearer to avert overhead thermal surveillance.

 

—Adam Harvey, “Stealth Wear,” 2013

Love, we’ve made it 

from checkpoint to checkpoint. Please, don’t try to kiss me      

 

in front of the window. I prefer the mirror’s reflection: 

a silver lake. I’ll never be gold — never                

 

the conductor inside the computer 

or the MRI machine; nor the chime of gold bangles. 

 

Silver clinks like sājāt, like Sito could’ve taught 

me. Sito’s dilated pupils the darkest 

 

deposits in this monochrome 

photograph. Like A Christmas Story

 

might I become a beloved lampshade with legs? 

A nimbus cloud cut into a crop top? I will 

 

hide my face for good this time. You keep coming back 

to our final act: kissing in front of the window, 

 

you insist, Habib/x, please. You remind me: 

there’s power in numbers; like a murder in the winter, 

 

waiting in an oak tree. You say, like the crow

we’ve entered a Stone Age. The crow elicits an absence 

 

of light—a hole in our sky where the brightest reds 

once hung. Our tool can disappear a haji. As in, 

 

under the table, we scatter silver 

across our bodies. A good set of silverware: 

 

one utensil for hunger & one for vanishing. 

Habib/x, you say, why do you think 

 

I’ve been dropping forks all night? Our dinner 

eaten by LED Edison bulbs—their low wattage 

 

still registers in the viewfinder. A walkie clicks,   

the fire is out…             Shoot for safety.

Tarik Dobbs (he/they) is an Arab American, queer writer born in Dearborn, MI. Dobbs’s poems appear soon in American Poetry Review, AGNI, and Mizna. Dobbs lives in Minneapolis.

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