Behave or the sleeping Alexander will reclaim your lungs.
Was once a cube of sugar
Refusing to dissolve in the sea.
It became a city from sheer stubbornness.
Alexander naively said,
“This is my land!”
causing the earth to giggle and birth him a wife
Rukhshana. (Roxanna if you prefer).
This wife refused to dissolve in his sea.
We know how the bright sun found him
The next day – snuffed by an ornate embroidered pillow –
The pillow and the three drops of Alexandrian blood
Have been preserved by the mountains.
Kandahar could never be Alexandria after that delicious murder.
Used by permission.
Originally published in notebook #105 from documenta(13)
Zohra Saed is the co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press). Her poetry has appeared in: Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality Ed. Sarah Hussein (Seal Press); Speaking for Herself: Asian Women’s Writings Ed. Sukrita Paul Kumar and Savita Singh (Penguin India); Seven Leaves One Autumn Ed. Sukrita Paul Kumar and Savita Singh (Rajkamal Prakashan Publishing: New Delhi, India); and most recently Sahar Muradi & Zohra Saed: Misspelled Cities (Notebook #105, documenta 13).
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