Alien of
Extraordinary 
Ability





  By Tarfia Faizullah
  Artwork by Saniya Kamal               








                                 


                                 









Alien of extraordinary ability is an alien classification by United States Citizenship and
______________ Services. The United States may grant a priority visa to an alien who
is able to demonstrate "extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or
athletics" or through some other extraordinary career achievements. The ________________
version of the classification (EB-1A), which grants permanent residency, additionally requires
the alien to demonstrate "sustained national or international acclaim", "achievements
recognized by others in the field of expertise", and "a level of expertise indicating that the
individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” 



                                 


                                 




                       When one knows thee, then alien there is none, then no door is shut.
                                                                -Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali 







“Why do you want this visa?”            

a home. is it here? is it here? is it here?  

“Why in this country?”  

everyone likes sweet stuff sometimes.  

“What are your plans?”  

To build a spaceship out
of the years named Solace.

 



                                 


                                 



so it is to be born a particular                              
particle to no particular address on no
particular day of a less-than particular week.

so it is to be star-seer, sin-shelter, flower
named nayantara, a rearview.
so it is that the name∞ You were given
is not the same. so You are chosen.

so it is to sense in an other
an otherworldly sweetness.
Have we met? You ask. No—

for I am talking to myself. Before You,
Idea. so it is to walk towards a frame
hoping for image vs error . . .

for don’t You want to see Your own
particles pictured in the museum mirrors?
No? Ok.
then forget continuum. be disruption



∞go back to sleep Ms. Chowdhury, the American situation is strange  



                                 


                                 
  


                                 


                                 


but we have not met yet. this is a museum. i am making a list∞
  • Personal ornaments
  • Collared disks
  • Scepters & early imagery
  • Neolithic axes of the _______________ culture
  • Blades
  • Dagger-axes arrowheads & knives
  • Serrated disks
  • Ceremonial blades
  • Serrated and ________________ axes
  • Handles
  • Animal heads and masks
  • Dragons
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Naturalistic animals
  • Insects
  • Surface decoration
  • Dish with coiled bird & dragon interlacery
  • Plaque
  • Shroud∞




∞this is a list to keep thoughts of you at bay
∞so it is to imagine your death, so it is to hold a conversation with your absence: 




                                 


                                 


so good, this gallery, You say
                                           yes, it is quite the door
to a thousand years ago! cries the Past.
sshhh, begs the Future. let’s watch the wall open . . .

see, we’ll have time for the fields!
see, we’ll consult the sun re the moon!
see, now we’ll “see” other families. our own.

is this a museum or a border? where
there is a border, there seems to be patrol . . .
“no touching the heart! i mean art!” security cries.

okay, i say, okay. and part the regions of my torso
that is how i learn the guard is blind
to my mockingbird inside.

“now walk towards flowering cherry
and autumn maples,” Mockingbird commands. “do it. alone” 




                                 


                                 



∞the idea-You disappears. I leave the museum or linger. i become or engage in:  

  • an etching
  • window shopping
  • allusions to the sea
  • light palette
  • ewer & basin


I once was and will never again be:

  • virgin & child
  • the rape of ____________ by _____________

Are you also trying understand what It is be:

  • a master






︎




                                 
 


                                 





Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Registers of
Illuminated Villages
 (Graywolf 2018) and Seam
(SIU 2014). She lives in Dallas, TX.




Saniya Kamal is a writer and artist based in
Karachi. She is drawn to mundane as well as
exceptional strangeness wherever it may be.
























Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf
2018) and Seam (SIU 2014). She lives in Dallas, TX.






Saniya Kamal is a writer and artist based in Karachi. She is drawn to
mundane as well as exceptional strangeness wherever it may be.