Mohammad Shafiqul Islam


Mask or no mask, you belong to me
My whole existence depends on how
You define me through your emotion
Stowed in the closet I can never enter

If you had a plan to erase my heart
From the country you’d sketched
You could look inward more deeply
Like I do to discover you in inner sky

When birds make nests in a shady tree
You don’t look at the leaves crushed
I like to rise from dust you tread on 
To recover from how I badly miss you

Mohammad Shafiqul Islam, poetry editor of Reckoning, is the author of two poetry collections, most recently Inner State (2020), and the translator of Humayun Ahmed: Selected Short Stories and Aphorisms of Humayun Azad. His poetry and translations have appeared in Journal of Postcolonial WritingPoem: International English Language QuarterlyCritical SurveyMassachusetts ReviewStag Hill Literary JournalReckoningDiburLunch TicketBengal Lights, and elsewhere. His work has been anthologized in a number of books, including The Book of Dhaka: A City in Short FictionKazi Nazrul Islam: Selections, and Poems from the SAARC Region. Currently at work on his third collection of poetry and a few translation projects such as The Letters of Kazi Nazrul Islam, Dr. Islam is Associate Professor of English at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh.