For Shamshad


There was one summer we drove

every day up to the prison and back,

you, the peaceful poet, and I

was pregnant as a pause.


A hundred doors clanged shut as jaws

behind us as we went to meet the men.


Was it just for them

that we worked so hard to turn words

into something like keys,

to coax verse from locked-up throats

like birds we could release?