Kazim Ali
Two Boys Ago


                              after Lucie Brock-Broido



No tired queens.


No ghosts coming back to replay their shredded remnants of old failures.


No more wishing for death. No more answering death’s letters.


No thousand and second night.


No curse for the only President I ever truly loathed.


No breathing into the fire, no digging down into earth.


No merciful caress of the cat fatally wounded in the street last June.


No ear or voice.


No tough zippered stride, no declaration of independence.


No more searching my skin with my own palms, searching for rib-bones’ or hip-bones’ protrusions.


No horizontal desperation, no seeking the sun.


No flounce of my hair, that old gesture, every time I open my mouth to begin.


No beginning.


No making love in the evening light on the hotel balcony.


No poem to explain myself.


No promise. No more ghosting death. In the index of the planet’s history of god and literature and the human spirit I decline any entry.




Found In Volume 48, No. 04
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Kazim Ali
About the Author

Kazim Ali’s books include several volumes of poetry, including Inquisition, Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award; The Fortieth DayAll One’s Blue; and the cross-genre text Bright Felon. He is currently a professor of Literature and Writing at the University of California, San Diego.