Spring 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1997 |


for Patricia O'Neill At a certain point I lost track of you. They make a desolation and call it peace. When you left even the stones were buried: The defenseless would have no weapons.   ▪ ▪ When the ibex rubs itself against the rocks, who collects     its fallen fleece from the slopes? O Weaver whose seams perfectly vanished, who weighs the hairs on the jeweler's balance? They make a desolation and call it peace. Who is the guardian tonight of the Gates of Paradise?   ▪ ▪ My memory is again in the way of your history. Army convoys all night like desert caravans: In the smoking oil of dimmed headlights time dissolved—all winter—its crushed fennel. We can't ask them: Are you done with the world?   ▪ ▪ In the lake the arms of temples and mosques are locked   in each other's reflections. Have you soaked saffron to pour on them when they are found   like this centuries later in this

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Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001) was a poet and teacher. He authored a variety of collections including A Walk Through the Yellow Pages (1987), The Half-Inch Himalayas (1987), A Nostalgist’s Map of America (1991), The Country Without a Post Office (1997). His collection, Rooms Are Never Finished (2001) was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001. He taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Princeton College, and in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College.

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