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Ramadan

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You wanted to be so hungry, you would break into branches,
and have to choose between the starving month’s

nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-third evenings.
The liturgy begins to echo itself and why does it matter?

If the ground-water is too scarce one can stretch nets
into the air and harvest the fog.

Hunger opens you to illiteracy,
thirst makes clear the starving pattern,

the thick night is so quiet, the spinning spider pauses,
the angel stops whispering for a moment—

The secret night could already be over,
you will have to listen very carefully—

You are never going to know which night’s mouth is sacredly reciting
and which night’s recitation is secretly mere wind—


Kazim Ali, “Ramadan” from The Fortieth Day. Copyright © 2008 by Kazim Ali. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Source: The Fortieth Day (BOA Editions Ltd., 2008)
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Ramadan

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  • Poet, editor, and prose writer Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom to Muslim parents of Indian descent. He received a BA and MA from the University of Albany-SUNY, and an MFA from New York University.
    Ali’s poetry collections include The Far Mosque (2005), which won Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award, The Fortieth Day (2008), and Sky Ward (2013). Ali’s poems, both lyric and musical, explore the intersection of faith and daily life. In a review of The Fortieth Day, Library Journal noted that Ali “continues his task of creating a rejuvenated language that longs to be liberated from the weight of daily routine and the power of dogmatic usage . . . writing in the tradition of Wallace Stevens, Ali is clearly a poet of ideas and symbols, yet his words remain living entities within the texture of the poem.”
    His prose includes The Disappearance of Seth (2009),...

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