Ghazal for the Diaspora

By Faisal Mohyuddin
Read by Adeeba Shahid Talukder

We have always been the displaced children of displaced children,
Tethered by distant rivers to abandoned lands, our blood’s history lost.

To temper the grief, imagine your father’s last breath as a Moghul garden—
Marble pool at its center, the mirrored sky holding all his tribe had lost.

Above the tussle of his wounded city, sad-eyed paper kites fight to stay aloft.
One lucky child will be crowned the winner, everyone else will have lost.

Wish peace upon every stranger who arrives at your door, even the thief—
For you never know when your last chance at redemption will be lost.

In another version of the story, loneliness mothers away the rust—
Yet, without windows in its hull, the time-traveler’s supplication gets lost.

Against flame-lipped testimonies of homesickness, the swinging of an axe.
Felled banyan trees populate your nightmares, new enlightenments lost.

The rim of this porcelain cup is chipped, so sip with practiced caution.
Even a trace of blood will copper the flavor, the respite of tea now lost.

Tell me, Faisal, with what new surrender can you evade deeper damnation?
Whatever it is, hack away, before your children, too, become the Lost.


*Selected for the 2022 Bloomsday Film Festival*
*Selected for the 2022 Ó Bhéal Festival*
*Selected as honorable mention for the 2023 Midwest Video Poetry Fest*
*Selected for REELpoetry/HoustonTX, 2024*

Directed by Eric Felipe-Barkin.

"Ghazal for the Diaspora," published in The Riddle of Longing, Backbone Press, 2017, and The Displaced Children of Displaced Children, Eyewear Publishing, 2018. Reproduced with permission.