Ghazal: Some ways to live

This entry is part 25 of 55 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2012


One summer we hiked to my grandfather’s farm. Ninety degrees in the shade, sandaled
feet stumbling in carabao dung. I did my best to look as if I knew how to live.

Five days a week I used to teach in the capital, six hours from home. Riding the midnight
bus, I saw families huddled in sleep by the underpass; how was this a way to live?

Every now and then I’ll remember something with a start, like fruit I had in childhood.
Bell-shaped macopa: red skin, cool, spongy hearts. Their taste, hard to re-live.

A cross between indigo and purple— this is the star apple’s signature. A five-
fingered flower, pulp thick and sweet, encasing the seed that might live.

The waiter brings my usual bowl of noodles in clear broth, a pair of battered shrimp.
For the umpteenth time I tell him: soup spoon, not ladle— the mouth’s hinges would give!

I love the way light moves across surfaces: the floor beneath the bay becoming
honey, water rippling itself and what holds it in. A window’s essential, to live.

In a darkened room I stretch out and practice: slow down my breathing, arrange arms
straight by my sides. Imagine how cells quit movement, the compulsion to live.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← DevotionsWhat heart heard of, ghost guessed: →

2 Replies to “Ghazal: Some ways to live”

  1. I guess from your locale that carabaos have nothing in common with the arctic reindeer. What are they? Lovely sensory detail, as usual. It makes me hungry for those fruits.

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