Pandemic Ghazal

Amit Majmudar

Virus infinitely versatile. Virus
Of guardrail, iPod, turnstile. Virus

Eager to go
The extra mile. Virus

Seaborne, colonizing
The Enchanted Isles. Virus

Airborne, whistling
All the while. Virus

Discreetly flashing holster
And assassin smile. Virus

Smuggling fever up
The Red Nile. Virus

Of folk song, urban legend,
Official denial. Virus

Squatting on the sky
Chameleon-style. Virus

In New York City scheming
How to make a pile. Virus

Never standing
Trial. Virus

Believing God
Gave it guile. Virus

Making a killing and
Making it in style.

Transmigrant Ghazal

Starfish, splayed palm, ginseng leaf.
Were these shapeshifts all one life?

It’s all a goose chase.
Birth, death, birth? Some life.

Make love, says death, please, act like I’m not here.
I think a flush to the cheeks becomes life.

After a lifetime in the pits
I’ve landed myself a plum life.

It takes lifetimes to process one request.
Death is the bureaucracy that runs life.

I had felt his kicks against my cheek.
Still, when I held him, I was stunned. Life!

Too proud to pray, are you, Amit?
Come here and beg for your son’s life.

Song of Innocence

What profits us the sura
What ishq is in the prose
If the Qur’an should open
And our minds should close

Don’t sew the lips of Poets
Don’t brand the thighs of Whores
For a Padlock on the winehouse
Will padlock heaven’s Door

The mullahs warned me: Sufi
You watch the words you sing
The words I sang were wasps
I watched them weave and sting

The Prophet wore a veil
The Qur’an bears a cover
But neither face nor fascicle
Is hidden from the Lover

O arabesque of Fire
Where Mansur wrote and writhed
Come dye my hands that all might see
The henna on your Bride

Amit Majmudar
Amit Majmudar

Amit Majmudar is a diagnostic nuclear radiologist who lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and twin sons. 2012 will see his work in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The New York Review of Books, The Best American Poetry anthology, and Poetry Magazine. His first novel, Partitions, was published by Holt/Metropolitan to wide acclaim, with featured reviews in The Wall Street Journal and NPR’s All Things Considered. His first poetry collection, 0', 0', was released by Northwestern in 2009. His second poetry collection, Heaven and Earth, was awarded the Donald Justice Prize for 2011. His second novel, The Abundance, is forthcoming in early 2013.