Kazim Ali

The Return of Music

The bridge of birches stretches down to the horizon.

A ridge of wings descending into the leaves.


Turn now in a note sent thither.

Thither around and the wind strikes.


Orange, the trees are aflame.

Scarlet. Called here, you came.


Light carving shadows into tree bark.

You translate this into other languages, all antiquated and still.


An anthem of ether. Shorn, you always wondered:

what willful course have you carved through your history?


In the tree-capped valley, the lustrous wind chafes through.

Leaf fence uncurl. The valley wends the way the music went.


The sapphire sky, unbelievable, but there.

These moments against the years you cannot believe.


This hover of music winging down from the mountains

you cannot believe.


But here in the trees, here above the river,  here as the season

stitches itself into fog then frost, you will.


Here as you unfold, unsummon, uncry, you will.


Unopened, you will. Unhappen, you will.


These moments against the years, you will.


Unmoment you will.



Unyear you will. Unyou you will.



Unwill you will—



The Return of Music appears in The Far Mosque (Alice James Books, 2005).