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By Zohra Saed

Behave or the sleeping Alexander will reclaim your lungs.

Kandahar -
          Was once a cube of sugar
Refusing to dissolve in the sea.
It became a city from sheer stubbornness.

Alexander naively said,
"This is my land!"

causing the earth to giggle and birth him a wife
Rukhshana. (Roxanna if you prefer).
This wife refused to dissolve in his sea.

We know how the bright sun found him
The next day - snuffed by an ornate embroidered pillow -
The pillow and the three drops of Alexandrian blood
Have been preserved by the mountains.

Kandahar could never be Alexandria after that delicious murder.

Added: Monday, July 7, 2014  /  Originally published in "notebook #105" from documenta(13). Used with permission.
Zohra Saed

Zohra Saed is the co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press, 2010), editor of the chapbook based on Langston Hughes notebooks in Central Asia: Langston Hughes: Poems, Photos and Notebook from Turkestan (Lost & Found, The CUNY Poetics Documents Initiative 2015); and Woman. Hand/Pen. (Belladonna, 2017). Her essays on the Central Asian diaspora and their food history have appeared in Eating Asian America (NYU Press, 2013) and The Asian American Literary Review. She co-founded UpSet Press, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit indie press, with poet Robert Booras.

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