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Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Queen Isabella Enters the Alhamra


The breeze in the lopped off minaret

is the moor’s last breath


Stones become crowns 

(The moor is not yet cold)

in the pulse of honeycomb



Every day I will fall

in his geometric web of light


And every night try to erase him


this rippled electricity of stars 

green clock of the lotus


Silk suturing stone:

“La ghalib illa Allah”


Solo Allah es vencedor


Repeated in one million ribbons 

of flickering water

My Husband Brings a “Poet’s Rabab” From Abroad


Neither boat nor pear shaped 

and I doubt the parchment

is sheepskin


and it caused such bickering


until you 

slid the bow 

and it was as if 

I was swimming across seven lulled seas


It now leans on the west wall 

pouring into my manuscript


with the eastern Mulberry it came from 

Meandering silk 

Its mother tongue

Wallada’s Last Poem for Ibn Zaydun


My rasp 

is turned to chalk 

Your gushing refrain

wrung dry


a warbler 

fills our plaster


with news


a beehive


beneath the whitewash


Note: These poems are from Baker of Tarifa, a book of poems that trace the 

history of the legendary “convivencia” or peaceful coexistence of the Abrahamic 

people living in Al Andalus or “Muslim Spain” (711-1492) and the tragic way it 

came to an end. Many of the poems in this book are in the voices of female 

historical or historical-fictional figures.

Shadab Zeest Hashmi's work has won the San Diego Book Award, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize multiple times, and has been translated into Spanish and Urdu. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Poetry International, The Cortland Review, Vallum, Nimrod, Atlanta Review, The Bitter Oleander, RHINO, Journal of Postcolonial Writings, Spillway, The Adirondack Review, and Drunken Boat among other journals and anthologies. She represents Pakistan on the website UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry, and has taught in the MFA program at San Diego State University as a writer-in-residence. She is a columnist for 3 Quarks Daily. Kohl and Chalk is her latest book.

Works from the Author

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