Wander Word


Double Reed

By Kazim Ali

Kazim Ali is a poet, essayist, fiction writer and translator. Some of his books include Sky Ward (Wesleyan University Press, 2013) and The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books' New England/New York Award. He is founding editor of the small press Nightboat Books.

when dusk says hand it over
what am I supposed to hand over

in printing you have to choose
between portrait or landscape

some evenings even though I am cold
I won’t go inside for a jacket

the bulb in the hallway has gone out
or did someone purposely unscrew it

I don’t know how to talk to you
also I don’t know how to listen

I don’t know anything about music except
clarinet is single reed and oboe is double reed

doubled in the night and finally warm
I keep thinking about how I didn’t lock the doors

the trees have vanished into dark
but evening is the sound of cars in the road

truancy is my life among the succulents
and my ardent wish that the war years be finished

in sculpture you are not supposed to carve
but carve away

double reed means your mouth isn’t even touching the instrument
you are only lightly holding a reed against another reed