for Majnoon

Adeeba Shahid Talukder
| poetry


—after the 1976 Hindi film Laila Majnu


Death is not so cruel.


Does the nightingale not see

the bleeding rose, how she tears

her collar, her very flesh?


He is mad, she pleads. He is mad.

I am to blame: It was I

who stole his senses.

Stone me,

bring me to the scaffold.


Come once,

just once

to see her forehead

clear as a mirror

rubbing itself into dust.


Show the Gods of the Age

that the world is not full of snow.

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 book Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved, forthcoming through Tupelo Press, is a winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize.

The Scaffold’s Branch
A Robe of this World