Alamgir Hashmi is the author of numerous books of poetry and literary criticism, and has taught as a university professor in Europe, America, and Asia. His more recent work appears in Poetry Review, Poet Lore, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, Contemporary Review, Poetry International, Edinburgh Review, Chicago Review, Toronto Review, New Statesman, Connecticut Review, Paris Voices and in many other prestigious journals and anthologies. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a Rockefeller Fellow, he has won high honours and awards for his work, some of which has been translated into European, Asian, and African languages. He is Founding President of The Literature Podium, An Independent Society for Literature and the Arts.
first for a cause and pepped up by medals
now I forget the reasons that got me here.
The hands waving good-bye to the ship
leaving the harbor were sad. How quick
tears in your palm dried with the sea wind.
Enough rounds and rations; the choppers,
GPS, night vision—all gizmos working the front
to make grass widows of countless women
in foreign jungles. Anyway, I write
to you briefly from my mosquito net,
under the passing search beam
as Sarge snoring next to me sleeps tight
and cicadas drone on like him at group meets.
Anyway, we do as we’re told. Take care,
I must be up early and help whoever fights
for peace around, speaking of equal rights.
© 2018 Alamgir Hashmi
Acknowledgement: this poem was first published in print in No, Achilles: War Poetry (Huntsville, TX: WaterWood Press, 2015-2016).