Kazim Ali


My last evening spent wandering along the docks.

By the foot-path, great iron rings.


Here is where the boats moor when the water rises.





The clouds gather themselves tightly together

as dervishes do after a period of whirling.


This should be a black and white film,

where I am the only one left,


sitting in front of the café,

waiting for the rain.


Briefly the sun pierces the clouds,

casts eerie shadows.


The water glows white.

My little cup glows white.





Letters in my bag for mailing.

Starlings clamber on the depot roof.



The sun dips into late afternoon.

For ten years I could not see.





Two boys are stacking rocks on top of one another.

I close my eyes and listen to the falling.


What about yesterday and the day before that?

Carry what you can in your hands. Scatter the rest.



Departure appears in The Far Mosque (Alice James Books, 2005).