Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

The Neglected
Adeeba Shahid Talukder

We left him filthy and begging.
Sometimes, he prances
through autumn evenings in tight green underwear,
pears and roses falling from his hair.
Sometimes moons, too, glint
softly in his skies.

O children of enlightenment! You are here
to teach me a lesson.
Teach it.

Place some pennies in this bucket
because I am so mad
so well.

They gather far, far away to escape the stench of his love
but glances are stolen, and with them,
the light.

Tell me, do you not see the magic of the universe in my eyes?

Orange and black as the heart of night.

There are too many gods now,
hovering above concrete, too scared to land.

Ladies and gentlemen!
Please don’t be afraid to donate.
I promise you, it won’t hurt your hair.

All breath is cradled and sewn.
Their dark limbs perch upon thrones.

Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where she received her MFA in Creative Writing. She translates Urdu and Persian poetry, and seeks to recreate the Urdu and Persian poetic universe in her own work in English. Her poetry and translations have appeared in Stirring: A Literary Collection, Consequence Magazine, PBS Frontline, and The Huffington Post. Adeeba lives in Brooklyn, New York.