by  Kazim Ali

Ali Kazim

you became real to me father
when I saw you fly over me from beneath the waves

a bone-white door against the cloud-white ceiling
looking for me, flapping and furious

I watched you in the dark as you slept
knowing the edge of you only by the deeper darkness

below you now in the blue-black, a star
winking out, I am thinking I may wake up in the labyrinth

and not ever do this
not seek for the sun

oh father my storm-dark coast
nothing fills


Kazim Ali has worked as a political organizer, lobbyist, and yoga instructor. His books include two volumes of poetry, The Far Mosque and The Fortieth Day; the novels Quinn’s Passage and The Disappearance of Seth; and a book of lyric prose, Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities. He has taught writing and literature at various colleges including the Culinary Institute of America, Monroe Community College, Shippensburg University, and New York University, and currently teaches at Oberlin College and in the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program. Co-founder of the small press Nightboat Books, his poetry and essays appear widely in such journals as Atlas, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, jubilat, and in Best American Poetry 2007.