Derecho Ghazal

This entry is part 8 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012


Derecho, Sp., adverb: straight ahead or in a straight line


Near the end of his life, incontinence had become a problem for my father. Out
with the driver one day, he gripped the seat back and rasped, Derecho, derecho!

What he meant was, Drive back home, straightaway— and our driver had the delicadeza
to turn around, never once making a comment on fluids he passed: no stays, derecho.

Early on, in Geometry, that’s what we’re taught: the shortest distance between two
points is a straight line: chalked stripes, taut strings of floss: derecho.

Do you know the tailor’s trick of a string wrapped around your wrist? Doubled twice,
it gives you the circumference of the neck. Plumb line in the body’s grasp, derecho.

In the trees, some raucous wrens engage in a kind of relay: touching bills,
passing a winged morsel. How will they share such a small repast, derecho?

At the clinic, a woman flings a chart to the floor and sobs. The doctor interjects,
but Don’t beat around the bush; give it to me straight, she gasps: derecho.

All along the southern corridor, people are picking up debris from the storm. A dark
roll of violent wind, they recount. Hail. Hundred year old oaks tossed by the derecho.

We cleaned him up, hosed down the seats in the car. I coaxed socks over his ankles.
All doors open to the wind, the body’s hinges unloosed at the very last: derecho.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Night Heron, AscendingMid-year Ghazal →Punctuation →

2 Replies to “Derecho Ghazal”


    All doors open to the wind, the body’s hinges unloosed at the very last: derecho.

    Derecho! No a mano, ni izquierda! Derecho.*
    It is easy driving at that point of no return.

    Go right straight into the night. No rights,
    nor lefts, it is a one-way boulevard–it ends.

    When it does end, the end becomes a start
    of a shadow life–remembrances, memories.

    They are all there is–they are highways
    through doors that do not open anymore.

    –Albert B. Casuga

    *Straight ahead, no rights, not lefts. Go straight.

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