A small group of short poems concerned with conflict, and were written directly as a response to the terrorist attack of 9/11. The titles all begin with 'how', in the style of a fable. It did seem then, for a short period of time, as if the world really was in danger of dividing in two: the Muslim world, and the rest of the world.

How the World Split in Two

Was it widthways or lengthways,
a quarrel with the equator?
Did the rawness of the inside sparkle?

Only this is true:
there was an arm on one side
and a hand on the other,
a thought on one side
and a hush on the other.

And a luminous tear
carried on the back of a beetle
went backwards and forwards
from one side to the other.

from Split Word: Poems 1990-2005 (Bloodaxe, 2008), Moniza Alvi 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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