Behave or the sleeping Alexander will reclaim your lungs.
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 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.