by M. Shahid Alam
A night reading Rumi fills ancient wineglasses.
By day speed & freeway suck God out of me.
I have stayed up all night thinking of you.
Wall Street & City leech love out of me.
Who is my brother if the world is a village?
Jet and internet pluck my roots out of me.
If earth goes toxic, let’s move out to Mars.
This devil optimism takes the heart out of me.
When blue sky and sun wrap me in their arms,
Shähid, this friendship takes the dread out of me.
M. Shahid Alam teaches economics at Northeastern University in Boston. He is the author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave, 2010). His poems and Ghalib translations have appeared in Kenyon Review(forthcoming), Critical Muslim (forthcoming), Clapboard House, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Paintbrush, Black Bear Review, West Coast Review, Marlboro Review, Journal of South Asian Literature, Kimera, Sufi, Swan, Chowk, Blanket and Pulse.