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p o e m s o l i v e r  a b r a h i m   k h a n

Six Poems

the white moth beats against the

thick south window           and the

rooster promises dawn          have I ever

         seen the dawn before?


      yes     you only forget

what is dawn?             just the

splitting of the world between cool

and heat             and this is heat?

no                   why forget?

we forget so that remembering

is sweet


and the birds flying in their constant

circles over Mohajireen

       have not forgotten


you descend       you have

hands       blood running through

hair for feathers        legs

      as the crocked chair       and

     eyes for interrupting the

tower cloud


            did it always mean

nothing           as you gather

your body from the top stair

down            and say     I am old

I left the window open

     I am constant circles

the emptying sky



those were scissors locked at the joint

     and candles resting on upturned glasses


I mean to be         Is this you from

two angles?          no    this is a man

on fire     with dog           how do we

even exist         such words crawling

across our legs                    :               attrition

war          lapse?

       all is swimming and hunger

flat       into moderation





dominate by three lines and waiting

     again there was the flood of morning

     mind still half stripped in green yellow

     and you        always pushing

            the hair from your face

                      are your hands out?

                          does that mean patience?


I too willing to pose in front of

     beautiful things       milk river

         red apples          tower of the bride

it goes as anything goes

       becoming nails half out of the wall

stream of plastic and the wardrobe

       bending in on itself


                     so early now

no telling          one voice from

      (2) two     they will not speak with

each          not with me   Have mercy on

me            please have mercy on me

teaching english:

yes     through acquisition something you


acquire?        acquire  absorb  to get

like sponge?         no more passive

passive?                without effort       easy?

I didn’t say that          you know

     passive resistance?         no

slow my eyes pendulum of praise

fail beneath orange lamps


sing, thousand bird tree and simulated

granite sky      the disproportioned

maw trapped inside the page

becomes the apparition of the land


yet, the ocean is real as

hand combing through coffee


and always one hand is open

here’s to getting at the bones of it

shade tree on a cool day           and

              my love        you are lines

down the page      among the chrome toothed

women            we are fatigued      and the

road sighs      say Ahh        scratch the

skin       shadow of the tilled vein

      the browning leaves       and the naming

              of           opposites      :

     house fire     :       ax

     channel        :        demonstration

     stop              :        rise

six o’clock and then tap on the pillars

               and they are filled with

water      filled with sand      filled with shoes

     shoe          :         wing

                                       no      shoes for

     the warding off      and pillars

laid in           sand           unerected

     the city that arranges itself

         saying         Filtch the air

    Filth the air       Fill the air

turning the lock once twice

and done        furnace locked

the clock too        and our

        shoes       safe

  what harm could come to us now?

somewhere in the city my lost

hour is               moving with briefcase

toward the coast

      you         my love         elsewhere

a fine burning          and

cooperating with…



how strange to hear a voice so unlike

      yours     not a command

tomes like yours     I do not love

it      as I love you

        I suppose this is the error of

rotation           the page discounted

      that here the center        there

the extremity        yellow tag and always

the smell of water leaving the

spider’s web               it has there in

no smell                 and again there is abandonment

the way we eat and always

ties into

the line        the waste      the ferris      and mistrust

End Cap


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