Kazim Ali


The books were all torn apart, sliced along the spines

Light filled all the openings that she in her silence renounced


Still: her handwriting on the papers remembered us to her

The careful matching of the papers’ edges was a road back


One night Muhummad was borne aloft by a winged horse

Taken from the Near Mosque to the Far Mosque


Each book likens itself to lichen,

stitching softly to tree trunks, to rocks


what was given into the Prophet’s ears that night:

A changing of directions—now all the scattered tribes must pray:


Wonder well foundry, well sunborn, sundered and sound here

Well you be found here, foundered and found



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