1st Place Winner Ali Hussain

A Letter to the Beloved
I remember when I first stood by your side,
outside an ornamented grille,
that surrounded your peaceful quarters,
and which gains its beauty from you.
You greeted me, yes, with a breeze.
What can I say, was it cold? Yes!
Was it warm? Yes. How can both be?
Well, like the perplexity of your beauty,
Which dumbfounds beauty itself,
anything, next to you, becomes nothing
and everything at the same time.
And you sent along a fragrance with that breeze,
how could you not?
When you are generosity itself.
You know better than me,
how long I had been waiting,
counting the moments,
and imagining you.
You gave me everything,
in a simple breeze with fragrance.
When I write these days,

I receive you from you in words.
But now that I’m asked to address you,
the lure and allure of love
wants to separate speech and address,
speaker from his dress,
and lover from beloved.
But love insists to ‘be loved’ with you,
you are not simply the destination of my words,
you are their spirit,
you are their origin,
you are the ink,
you are the inspiration.
Sometimes,
I seek to mention your name,
incessantly with nothing else.
In those moments,
I am not the only one,
who annihilates in you,
but language, time and meaning
become ecstatically drawn to you,
and withdrawn from themselves.
Other times,
I wish to be silent,
only to hear you speak to me
through the beauty and forms
of all things.
In those special instances,
you are more present.
I may not hear your name outside,
but I feel the reverberations
of the letters of your name,
in the forms, both inside and outside.

I pray that this letter melts away

in the ocean of those letters that belong to you!

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