Axis by Dhiyanah Hassan


A few things so you don’t get lost: the piece starts off with a spoken word track, progressing in GIFs and poetry. The audio is best heard through earphones, straight into your heads. 

And a big thank you to Lutfi Hakim for lending me his voice!

— DH


i miss the stars. did you know, Orion’s Belt was shining in sequential anger
on the desert sky that night? i showed you, but i don’t think you were listening.
you weren’t even there.

I heard you anyway.

how could you?

no, don’t pull me that way.

Is it me you want, or my roots?


Talk to me…

do you recognize desire sitting across from you? when we met i wondered…
when we met the first thing we did was reconstruct the skins, the skins of our firsts —
the ones that taught us the tangibility of existence.
how to caress, how to crush.


Did it hurt to yearn for a body you know could never understand yours?

only with everything i have ever been and half of what i will be…

When you leave?

when i leave.


i’d do it again, this. this searching scrambling fumbling.
they say we have the sun in our veins, but how do i reconcile this with my night —
tormented rejected frustrated? and yet.

Which part would you remember most? [whispers] Would you remember me at all?


your language. the way you rush through sentences, drive past pauses, lean
your knees into the impending dusk and overtake dread with an ease only gravity can muster.
with nothing but your blood, firmly, in the soil. you speak
easily in the heat’s percussive beats. and the softness underneath —
a tenderness i had almost given up on.

Am I only here to wait with you, wait until you’re gone?


we are both here. we sit on the edge of air travel, you and i.
our arrivals and departures announcing themselves in unknown voices and from opposite sides
of the compass. waiting, now,
for time to lift us off — 

To lift you off.


how long now have we been rushing off in different directions? our wings
will never catch the same winds to fly on. our feet
won’t hit the ground at the same time,
once we’re done with this

what, what is it?

You do not exist, you wave.

That’s what you do. You bloom from the crest of you, your surface simmering. Reach out to the top of you, pull out the best of you, before going quiet and swaying backwards — receding. You dance like time travel, moving to the rhythms of the past and a future untethered by ‘nothing matters.‘ I keep having to suck the salt of loss out of your screams so as not to get smashed against the jagged edges of your elbows.

You want me to say, you didn’t deserve to be spat back out as many times as you were. You want me to say, you tried and you tried hard and here is your prize for it. You want me to say, here are my arms — they are not there, they are here and this is it.

And I say these things, I say all of these things —

if you are sick of me, scared of me, stumped by me,
then please —

Never deny how much I wanted you. [whispers] How much I still want you.

you never taught me,
you never once showed me how to stay.

How could I?


i have to go.
i knew better before i began. in the end
i’ve only learnt how to scrape against yearning, carrying
phantom limbs as luggage. and yet.
i’d do it all again.

I should have said…

one more look around before this moment disappears.

I should have said, I know you’re lost.

I know you’ve lost your language and you’re constantly trying to write by connecting the dots in the night sky — in fragments, against stasis, working with silence. I know you’ve chased Orion’s Belt through three different oceans and I know you don’t really mean it when you say you think the stars are angry at you for never planting the words in your tongue. For never letting your hands learn the hieroglyphs these old words can form in gestures.

I should have said, “Don’t leave, I want you. Stay.”


Dhiyanah Hassan
will never know how to behave and you’ll have to just deal with it because she is now the Queen of Moons.
Twitter. Tumblr. Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Axis by Dhiyanah Hassan”

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