Doyali Islam's second poetry book is heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019). Poems from this lyrical and innovative collection have been published in Kenyon Review Online, The Fiddlehead, and Best Canadian Poetry, and have won several national awards and prizes. Doyali serves as the poetry editor of Arc Poetry Magazine and lives in Toronto. In 2017, she was a guest on CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition. Recently, she and Anne Michaels discussed language, form, beauty, and empathy in CV2 magazine (Spring 2019), and she and Forrest Gander discussed grief, art-making, and poetry ethics in The Adroit Journal (Issue 27).

  • Doyali Islam

poem for your pocket


                                                                 what my pockets have kept over seasons:        beyond reason to one mass grave, one mass

                                                                                                                                           silence. still, one silence his overcoat

                                                                       coffee change. house keys. ttc tokens.

                                                                                                                                            pocket would not keep: eighteen months

                                                                   emptiness and silence and my ungloved         passed before his wife unpacked that pocket

                                                                 reticent hands. poems. thoughts of miklós       of earth––rifled through corpses, clothing––found

                                                                                                                                           what remained. it was love. love rifled through

                                                                             radnóti––he who hid in his pocket

                                                                                                                                           miklós's silences––love gave his damp

                                                            a thin notebook on his forced march towards        last pages back to sunlight's keep. oh yes

                                                                         death in some unallied forest.                   yes, it was love announcing in him, i

                                                                                                                          forced       will find my way to you, i will come back. 



after w.s. merwin

                                                                          i'm listening to a youtube interview       the moon of his forehead, hair white as the 

                                                                                            of the poet w.s. merwin.       ermine whose fur belongs to winter's own

                                                                        two davids are with him as he recites      coat, i know i will rewind this over

                                                              "homecoming"––the one about the plovers,      and over––by which i mean re-wind it.

                                                     half their weight gone to get them home, heaving      for a moment, the kitchen has stopped

                                                              their yearning and as the notes rise from his      its cleavings, the tv from afar its war

                                                       throat like dark, curving, plangent wings against      and oil, hunger and fire. hunger, and fire.

Excerpted from heft by Doyali Islam. Copyright © 2019 Doyali Islam. Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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