It’s in Sleep a Soul Will Know Itself

2

June 15, 2012 by The Citron Review

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

 

I am neither a Persian
nor a Mughal miniature;
no toothless gazelle, ivory hand fan,
sitar tremolo, rose syrup,
no tiger hunt, velvet howdah,
sweltering divan of poems.

I looked but did not find myself
under the desert’s back lit
piercing clocks, its lexicon of loss,
lures and winds
of woven fragrance.

I was never
a black and white begum
blooming out of a soufflé
of silk gharara,
leaning on a gold cane,
nor a sepia Sahab Bahadur
with his shoe on the lap
of a native.

I never rode a motorbike through a tunnel
under a river.
No cigarette in my mouth
nor a niqab pressed to my nose.
When I close my eyes
I am the ripped tire
rolling beside a barefoot boy
with a stick
I spin to his whim
across a rocky,
jasmine scented hill.

 

Shadab Zeest Hashmi’s book Baker of Tarifa won the 2011 San Diego Book Award for poetry. Her work has appeared in Poetry International, Vallum, Nimrod, The Bitter Oleander, Journal of Postcolonial Writings, The Cortland Review, South Asian Review, New Millennium Writings, RHINO and other places. She has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize twice, and has taught in the MFA program at San Diego State University as a writer-in-residence.

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2 thoughts on “It’s in Sleep a Soul Will Know Itself

  1. Farzeen Khan says:

    Incredible talent!! At first when I read her poem, I was overwhelmed and amazed how graciously Shadab portrayed women in different cultures and brought to light the saga of our women….

  2. Meera Kumar says:

    What a beautiful poem! Congratulations, Shadab, for the well deserved accolades.
    Meera Kumar

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