Sunday Rumpus Poetry: Three Poems by Faisal Mohyuddin

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On the Morning of November 9, 2016,
I had a Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

Yes, I started my day by eating
a whole pumpkin pie, cold, straight
from the tin while standing before
the open fridge, telling myself,
as the chilled air stilled my blood
and kept at bay more tears and sighs
laced with venom and hurt, that
nothing’s wrong with being a woman
who eats with her fingers and makes
a mess at her feet, not when
no ceiling broke the night before,
when our nation elected him
when to survive this day and the next
four years’ worth will require many
more small, nourishing acts of
self-indulgence and sweet defiance.

***

To Be a Fisherman or a Father, You Must

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Do not claim them. Feel the artistry
moving through, and be silent.
–Rumi, from “Body Intelligence”

Know that inside the glistening bodies of fish, within secret
Envelopes wonder compels us to tear open, there lie, like ore,
Vast stretches of empty hours, mined from our lives, time
Invested in the pursuit of mere existence, of letting our own
Natural radiance loose, and nothing more, and nothing less.

And so you float upon the heavens-heavy surface of the water,
Looking at neither side of the reflection, but rather at your own
Inner burning, from which a new kind of love is being forged.

Like starlight, having traversed centuries to catch your son’s
Attention while he studies his own window of night, your soul,
Keeping time with breath, also travels between the living
And the lost, between life’s riddles and its blessings. You see,
Nothing depends on the catch. Rather, true wisdom is rooted
In casting yourself into the growing grandeur of this new love.

***

Remembering Stella and Lily,
Who Died on the Same Day

I’m stepping through the door.
And I’m floating in the most peculiar way.
And the stars look very different today.

Solemnly you recognize, when measured by human time
That the lives of dogs are much too short, so you take
Each little second and make it seven, and do so out of
Love, a love so vast it needs more than a lifetime to claw
Loose the last layers of longing in a person’s remembering.
And so you love them deeply and purely, at times with

An awe that transcends the reach of your own imagination.
Nobody else can understand the joys of this joy, of these
Dogs who, when their time came, stepped through the door,

Leaving in their wake, like the rocketing light of the stars,
Iridescence that undoes darkness and melancholy, whose
Lingering presence, charged by the lives they lived, makes
You feel they’re still there, curled up at your feet, asleep.


Faisal Mohyuddin teaches English at Highland Park High School in suburban Chicago, is a recent fellow in the U.S. Department of State's Teachers for Global Classrooms program, and received an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago in 2015. He was awarded the 2014 Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner and was selected as a finalist in Narrative's Eighth Annual Poetry Contest in 2016. His writing has appeared and is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Atlanta Review, RHINO, Chicago Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, the minnesota review, Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas), and elsewhere. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son. More from this author →