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(Iman was a Palestinian girl who was sprayed with bullets by Israeli soldiers as she walked to school. Rafah, 2004. Her name means “faith”)

  • Come be spun in the nightly vortex
  • where I am Sarai’s child some times
  • And sometimes Hagar’s
  • My mothers —
  • their golden dust
  • rises between us
  • when Jerusalem’s trees morph into green tanks
  • Your loquacious mouth
  • shapes missiles with my name on them
  • And of both my mothers
  • Come kiss each missile on the forehead
  • before you strike this house
  • Poems that were doors
  • will forever close and split
  • into ancient pebbles
  • Come like rain falling on the tanks
  • Your sleeves dry and mighty
  • with no tears to wipe
  • Come turn in my grave
  • where every flower ticks like a bomb


Shadab Zeest Hashmi has won the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize and the San Diego Book Award for her books
Baker of Tarifa and Kohl & Chalk. Her work has been included in the Seeds of Peace concert with the award-winning Al Andalus Ensemble, in the film Cruzando Lineas: Crossing Lines, and has been translated into Urdu and Spanish. She has presented her series of poems and photographs titled “Across the Windowsill” at San Diego Museum of Art, served as an editor for the annual Magee Park Anthology and for the online journal MahMag World Literature. Shadab has taught as a visiting professor in the MFA program at San Diego State University and her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Prairie Schooner, The Cortland Review, and Atlanta Review. In addition, she represents Pakistan on the website UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry.

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