September 5, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Kandukuru Naharjun photo



Shadab Zeest Hashmi




Eyeglasses resting on the Tempest



Or Gabriel’s Wing beside a saucer of mulberries

Urdu newspaper quartered

a wasp I believe stung me once

dizzying itself in the tea cozy’s mirrorwork

flickering, golden with crimes

I cannot sting

it back but this is my verandah and everything here has my eyes

even the ruddy brick-wall with its army of cats

even the strainer of slushy tealeaves

When Naani Jaan leans back

and shuts her eyes

I know there were fresh

graves in the news from Kashmir today

We are here on the map

of forbidding

where new wounds press into old names

I’m playing with her eyeglasses

Stretching her shawl to make a refugee tent

Asking for the story of Yusuf’s release from the pharaoh’s prison

She speaks first of how a father went blind

weeping for his child

No swaddle of true dreams, no return home in her story

but a waterless well and forever empty arms






Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Shadab Zeest Hashmi is the author of poetry collections Kohl and Chalk and Baker of Tarifa. Her latest work, Ghazal Cosmopolitan, is a book of essays and poems exploring the culture and craft of the ghazal form. Winner of the San Diego Book Award for poetry, the Nazim Hikmet Prize and multiple Pushcart nominations, Zeest Hashmi’s poetry has been translated into Spanish and Urdu, and has appeared in anthologies and journals worldwide, most recently in McSweeney’s In the Shape of a Human Body I am Visiting the Earth. She has taught in the MFA program at San Diego State University as a writer-in-residence and her work has been included in the Language Arts curriculum for grades 
7-12 (Asian American and Pacific Islander women poets) as well as college courses in Creative Writing and the Humanities. 

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