- Gunpowder Tea
The ship is now a salty ghostas is the captain and the subaltern
They rise uncontrollably to the swellunder the empire’s ivory plectrum
Fistful of opium newsprintScalloped sugar spoon and syrup-doused bayonet
The moment of docking has fortune’s flickersKeeps arriving
Boxes of rolled tea leavesstill mistaken for ammunition
For every grain of sugara grain of doubt
How to brewbeside a quarrel in the marrow?
How believe, you, mistaken for cartridge shothave the heart of tea [End Page 68]
Shadab Zeest Hashmi , author of Kohl and Chalk and Baker of Tarifa , is the recipient of the San Diego Book Award, the Nazim Hikmet Prize, and multiple Pushcart nominations. Her work has been translated into Spanish and Urdu and has appeared in Wasafiri, Mudlark, the Cortland Review, Poetry International, Vallum, POEM, the Adirondack Review, Spillway, Atlanta Review, Journal of Postcolonial Writings, Rhino, Nimrod, Drunken Boat, Asymptote, and other journals worldwide. She has taught in the mfa program at San Diego State University as a writer-in-residence and has presented in Turkey, Spain, Pakistan, Mexico, and the UK.