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The Hottest P1ace in the Wor1d*

Tom Savage

Through tree-honed streets
a shadowed fie1d of turbans moves
white as our desires
white as the heat
but softer.
I build you again in my head
with time in your bones, a white time,
iced-milk cool.
With so much tea in my blood
steam rises out of my head.
My breath is slipping away
as white as the sand would be
if we could kiss it
and find each other again
dripping with forgotten rain
and our soil’s lave fruit.

June 1970, Kandahar, Afghanistan

*The Emperor Akbar proclaimed Kandahar in June to be the “hottest place in
the world.


Tom Savage has written ten books of poems, including Brainlifts (Straw Gate Books, 2008) and Political Conditions / Physical States (United Artists Books, 1993). He has a forthcoming collection, Afghanistan: From Herat to Balkh and Back Again, due out from Steve Cannon’s Fly By Night Press. His work has been published in The New York Times, The World, Hanging Loose, Talisman and many other periodicals. He has taught a workshop at The Poetry Project and currently edits the magazine Tamarind. In the mid-1980s he edited the magazine Gandhabba.

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