SALT HILL 22, Winter 2008




K. Silem Mohammad

from Sonnagrams

Author’s note: Each Sonnagram, including its title, is an anagram of a standard modern-spelling version of one of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, containing exactly the same letters in the same distribution as the original. The title is composed last, using whatever letters are left over once I’ve assembled a working sonnet in iambic pentameter with an Elizabethan rhyme scheme.




Futureless infants teethe in quiet rage,

Indifferent to the thunderclap of doom;

For even at their tender little age,

They know who’s really buried in Grant’s Tomb.

As epitaphs perpetuate their sighs,

They suckle at the least nutritious breast,

Uncomforted by mellow ethnic thighs,

Unentertained by legends of the West.

Thus swaddled in the filth that drives them mad,

Too diaper-rashed to bother with the blues,

They curse a life where fortitude is plaid,

And Robert Frost has pee pee on his shoes.

If men are put on earth to ever fail,

Then ho ho ho, kimono—call me male.



[* from Sonnet 6, “Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface”]


K. Silem Mohammad is the author of Breathalyzer (Edge Books, 2008), A Thousand Devils (Combo Books, 2004), and Deer Head Nation (Tougher Disguises, 2003). He also maintains the blog Lime Tree (, and co-edits the poetry magazine Abraham Lincoln. He is an associate professor at Southern Oregon University, where he teaches creative writing and literature.