Tag Archives: Kundiman Poetry Prize

ADEEBA SHAHID TALUKDER.October 2018


ADEEBA SHAHID TALUKDER

Photo by Jeff Sirkin


 

ACROSS THE EAST RIVER

What is night

if not a sprawling shadow?

The split leaves,

the curve of them, slick

and warm, under this air

that lives in your crevices

and mine. How the same air

has touched both of us, laces

its fingers in ours. The bridge

is lit up. In this night of still water,

it is all there is.

 

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*** ** ***

 

BEFORE HE SINNED

After the sky was wedded

to the earth it turned

by degrees

into fire,

char and smoke.

The gods, unmoving,

watched this dawn

and lusted.

 

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*** ** ***

 

REVOLUTION

When at last

she began to burn,

he turned back

into himself,

slow as cold snaking

into a fold of cloth.

For too long

she had held his sky—

any longer,

and he would lose

himself.

So he turned

from her,

walked away

from the horizon,

from its glowing water

as the sun lay

smothered

in a pool of red.

 

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*** ** ***

 

ON COURTING CALAMITY

after N.M. Rashed

 

A thread

from pre-

eternity

to past time’s

end, a thread

that binds

movement

to gesture, a crow

to a narcissus.

 

I stretch.

 

My waist, this morning,

is a knot.

 

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*** ** ***

 

THE ROSE THE FLAME THE HUNTER

We are all the same woman— with silver hands

and eyes of gold, cracking the earth

softly with our petals.

All love songs are about me

and you. Men stand with fistfuls

of buds, waiting to strew them at our feet,

holy like an endless stream of water.

Sometimes they wander intoxicated

to the tavern, reciting verses

of our cruelty, clipped of their wings,

songs of exaltation and grief.

Their sorrow is beautiful,

but the rose has not learned

to move or be moved.

Friends, have you learned?

We are mirrors.

All they want is to see themselves.

All we want is to bloom.

 

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*** ** ***

 

THE BRANCH

Majnoon, his collar sewn,

returns to the city.

He scatters the petals of roses, dark

like the horizon.

In the courtyard, a child eats dust.

 

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*** ** ***

 

ON THE FERRY

how many lights are poets,

 

their yellow-white suns

 

leaning over

 

each wave of the river

 

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ADEEBA SHAHID TALUKDER


Adeeba Shahid Talukder
is a Pakistani American poet, singer, and translator of Urdu and Persian poetry. She is the author of What Is Not Beautiful (Glass Poetry Press, 2018) and her book Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved, forthcoming through Tupelo Press, is a winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize. A Best of the Net finalist and a Pushcart nominee, Adeeba holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and is a Poets House 2017 Emerging Poets Fellow.

 

To download a printable PDF version of this page, click here.

 

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October 2018.ADEEBA SHAHID TALUKDER