In trauma, I smell Pakistan’s
dust, feel its rise
then fall, again into dust.
In the moments after I was hit
by a car, I smelled the rocks of
Clifton, felt the evenings full
with crows and the lilting,
circling call of God, notes
folding into themselves, building
Each day since, I have worked
to gather myself, sweep until my grains
collapse. Then watch
the wind lift each one to light.
Pakistan, my love,
we have never been our own
but the dust of us, our own withering.
let us, like dust,
Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani American poet, singer, and translator of Urdu and Persian poetry. She is the author of What Is Not Beautiful (Glass Poetry Press, 2018) and her debut collection, Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved (Tupelo Press, 2020), is a winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Poem-A-Day, Gulf Coast, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Margins, and her translations in PBS Frontline and Words Without Borders. A Best of the Net finalist and a Pushcart nominee, Adeeba holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and an Emerging Poets fellowship from Poets House.