Baker of Tarifa
by Shadab Zeest Hashmi
Cover by Azfar Najmi
Published by Poetic Matrix Press
68 pages, price $16.00
Winner, 2011 San Diego Book Award
"Al Andalus--a unique cultural convergence in human time where myth hovers the way
moths are drawn to lampshine, and in her luminous, spare language, Shadab Zeest
Hashmi catches its essence: attar of memory, the perfume of peace, sweet rising
dough of dailiness; at the end, smoke rising, the reek of war, useless keys, exile,
sorrow distilled and deepened by the presence--in these deeply felt, lovely poems--of
what feels newly lost"--Eleanor Wilner.
Shadab Zeest Hashmi
Shadab Zeest Hashmi has an MFA from Warren Wilson. She graduated from Reed College
in 1995. She has been on the editorial board of The Poetry Conspiracy. She has also
been the editor of the annual Magee Park Poet's Anthology since 2000. Originally
from Pakistan, she lives in San Diego, California.
From Baker of Tarifa:
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Baker of Tarifa
Coals left over from breakfast
will be enough
You'll need a cup of crushed
(pistachios cost more than a bottle
of Syrian perfume these days
so do without)
brown sugar and plenty of butter
Also an eye-cup of rosewater
for the filling
Muqawwara means arena
Cut the bread
neatly in that shape
Take care the dough has been softened
with fresh milk
what your mother sang
while you fry the bread
is known for sensitivity and intelligence.
A Christian Chronicler writes of Muslims:
"The handsomest among them
was as black as the cooking pot."
Adafina is a cooking pot
used by Jews. It is buried
in embers on Friday night.
The meal is ready
the next day.
Muslims are advised
to take the long way home
so they can greet neighbors.
must love their neighbor
comes from "dufn" or "buried" in Arabic.
The Andalusian is often
drawn with black pigment.
Arabic is a Semitic language.
Burnt bones were
used to make black.
The Andalusian is mostly gray
and rarely has a pearl,
buckskin or chestnut
The highest commandment
For Jews, Muslims and Christians:
Love God with all your heart, soul
The Andalusian is prized
as a war horse.