for Edward W. Said

In Jerusalem a dead phone’s dialed by exiles
You learn your strange fate: you were exiled by exiles

You open the heart to list unborn galaxies
Don’t shut that folder when Earth is filed by exiles.

Before night passes over the wheat of Egypt,
let stones be leavened, the bread torn wild by exiles

Crucified Mansoor was alone with the Alone:
God’s loneliness-just his-compiled by exiles

By the Hudson lies Kashmir, brought from Palestine-
It shawls the piano, Bach beguiled by exiles.

Tell me who’s tonight the Physician of Sick Pearls?
Only you as you sit, Desert child, by exiles

Match Majnoon (he kneels to pray on a wine-stained rug)
or prayer will be nothing, distempered mild by exiles

“Even things that are true can be proved” Even they?
Swear not by Art but, dear Oscar Wilde, by exiles

Don’t weep, we’ll drown out the Calls to Prayer, O Saqi-
I’ll raise my glass before wine is defiled by exiles

Was -after the last sky- this the fashion of fire:
autumn’s mist pressed to ashes styled by exiles?

If my enemy’s alone and his arms are empty,
give him my heart silk-wrapped like a child by exiles

Will you, beloved stranger, ever witness Shahid
two destinies at last reconciled by exiles?

– Agha Shahid Ali. By exiles

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