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Notes on the Sea’s Existence


Yellow island, yellow sun:
My struggle began
with a soft wave,
which offered love
on the shore’s terms.
Wearing a mask of glares,
the white, white sand
touched me with fire.

I held myself together,
a still breath.


It pulls me to itself,
the reflection, no, not mine:
I know the water’s fidelity,

its utter transparence. The sea
becomes me like nothing
else: I wear it like skin.

Who pulls me with such
ease? A dead ancestor,
a lost friend, or
the shell’s hollow cry?
The weeds wrap me, like arms.
I’m pulled down, down, to the tip of the sky.

I hold the world as I drown.

~Agha Shahid Ali

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