when dusk says hand it over
what am I supposed to hand over

in printing you have to choose
between portrait or landscape

some evenings even though I am cold
I won’t go inside for a jacket

the bulb in the hallway has gone out
or did someone purposely unscrew it

I don’t know how to talk to you
also I don’t know how to listen

I don’t know anything about music except
clarinet is single reed and oboe is double reed

doubled in the night and finally warm
I keep thinking about how I didn’t lock the doors

the trees have vanished into dark
but evening is the sound of cars in the road

truancy is my life among the succulents
and my ardent wish that the war years be finished

in sculpture you are not supposed to carve
but carve away

double reed means your mouth isn’t even touching the instrument
you are only lightly holding a reed against another reed

Kazim Ali is the author of a book of poetry, The Far Mosque (Alice James Books), and a novel, Quinn’s Passage (BlazeVOX [books]). He is one of the founding editors of Nightboat Books, teaches at Stonecoast, and will join the faculty of Oberlin College in fall 2007. His second book of poetry, The Fortieth Day, is forthcoming in 2008 from BOA Editions.

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