May 10, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Dennis Skley photo



Shadab Zeest Hashmi




The Theft of Eid


(for Marilyn Hacker)



The theft of Eid did not happen on Eid or on the eve of Eid when I asked the children to switch on the party lights before evening prayer on the patio by the calla lilies under the darkening purple damask sky nor did it happen the day before I bought dried dates & sweetened condensed milk for Eid pudding but it happened five thousand four hundred and seventy five days ago when the towers fell on us and everyone but us was given a burial while we were left burning and were called names and made to pay for bombs that crack the fields that had fed us their wheat in childhood made to watch the earth shudder before the camera made to watch the orphaning of millions in real time & the shredded pleas of mothers & the cavernous eyes of fathers made to watch the agony of last looks at loved ones and lost cities and the desperate rafts to unknown lands passports sewn into plastic bags lips shivering around the name of the same bullet passing through past and future No it was not Eid that year or the year before though we never shut the door on it Eid it means happiness your note from Paris reminded me






Queen of Splinters



Hello broken window

Was it I broke in

to hide or broke away

to save my life? Remind me which

          side of survival

to weave on

                     side by side with the black widow:

a calligram to hold us

          sunny-side up

a gold-brushed ya



the distance between castaway

and castle

                  saddlebag and star

broken limb and lime tree


Uncloaking the call

                     inside the rotting sponge of silence

                     Our names

exhaled by the Zephyr

scattered and sown

                      in the land of red-hot

                      tectonic plates

Broken window

                           queen of splinters

Give me a scrap of the raga

                   that cut the train tracks in two

                   back when we filed

under new names in the subcontinent

Give me the screech-thin line

                    Between mango wood and tin can

                    Between steam-engine and gasoline

Morgue and mall

                              New empire and old






Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Shadab Zeest Hashmi’s latest book Ghazal Cosmopolitan has been praised by Marilyn Hacker as “a marvelous interweaving of poetry, scholarship, literary criticism and memoir.” A recipient of multiple Pushcart nominations, the San Diego Book Prize for poetry, and the Nazim Hikmet Prize, her poems and essays appear in journals and anthologies worldwide, most recently in McSweeney’s anthology In the Shape of a Human Body I am Visiting the Earth, Prairie Schooner, World Literature Today, Wasafiri, Spillway, The Cortland Review, Vallum, Poetry International and Asymptote online.  She is the author of Kohl & Chalk and Baker of Tarifa, and has taught at San Diego State University as a writer-in-residence.

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