Kazim Ali
Dear Shams

   There’s no answer to winter
watching the sun set over water

it falls so quickly
you have not been lost

branches, oligarchs of  the sky
everybody listening for silence

where and where did you go
twelve-stringed music, rejoin me

in the sun-year I swelled long shadows
in the moon-year the valley folded itself up

you are the beloved I would not love
at the fountain witless and still

a stream pours over rocks making music
could the water rush over me

the sun drops so quickly into its banishment 
could I please forget to breathe and drown

will the ocean rejoin me
you have not been lost

can I be reborn as a guitar
will you be reborn as music and hum inside me

one day you stopped looking at me
and I knew

the last note is lingering in the box
of my body

you did not vanish in the marketplace
I still imagine you in me as my breath

broken in thirds
corded to sound

I took your name when the sun came up
sun of winter, sun windless and wistful

come down across the water
undone sun give me the drunk go-ahead

last time I searched for you
this time I become wooden and resonant

prepare yourself in pure sound
last time I raved without senses

oh pluck me my angel my paper-maker
I want to feel you hum inside me 

pluck me pluck me
and hum

Found In Volume 39, No. 01
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  • Kazim
Kazim Ali
About the Author

Kazim Ali’s books include Sky Ward, The Far Mosque, The Fortieth DayAll One's Blue; ​and the cross-genre text Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities. His forthcoming titles include: Uncle Sharif's Life in Music, a collection of short stories; The Secret Room: A String Quartet, a novel; and Anais Nin: An Unprofessional Study, a new book of essays.