Mid-year Ghazal

This entry is part 9 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012


Streets and parks, surprisingly empty this fourth of July— heat index past the hundreds,
humidity. Later in the cool of evening, crowds will watch fireworks at nine o’clock.

Nights wrapped in somnolent heat: the mind wanders familiar terrain— Watching
those I love in pain is suffering’s keenest dirk. And I can’t turn back the clock.

Voluptuous in their blue-purple spill: wisteria and lilacs among trellises here,
Neelakurinji carpeting the Western Ghats… I’d shirk a day of work just to tend these clocks.

But mostly I plow through each day’s heft and mystery, plant one foot before the other.
Anxious, trembling, the heart’s a poorly paid clerk, racing against the clock.

There’s never enough coal in the grate, never enough heat; too meagre resources
to bankroll dreams. I’m no longer that young turk unfazed by the dictum of clocks.

See the river’s face soften at twilight— Oil from passing boats has stippled its waters
with metallic sheen. Let’s you and I walk before nightfall’s murk, ignoring the clock.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Derecho GhazalMortal Ghazal →

One Reply to “Mid-year Ghazal”


    Here is that time mocking me now: I am mostly careful.
    When I walk through empty rooms, I plant one foot
    before the other, hoping I have a steady ground to step
    upon before rattling cupboard ware to announce fright
    before it wraps me into a cocoon of dread and disaster.

    Did I learn anything from past wounds? Do I have scars
    to show for them? I peep into darkened bedrooms, not
    unlike tyro thieves who would not know what lustre
    colours precious stones, or which heirloom is worth it all,
    I see her toss and turn to quickly hide a tear-stained face.

    Oh, that I could take your pounding heartache from you,
    my child, and rip it out from where it has stabbed you
    unawares and made you bleed all this time, all this time.
    If I could bring him back to you that he might sing you
    those lullabies he left unsung, I will. But I would die, too.

    Yet I would, if you could escape this nightfall gloom
    that tears at you like a rabid jackal, a twin to your lizard
    on the ceiling that in your nightmares grows huge enough,
    serpentine enough, to swallow you into yet another hole
    where you dream to see your father bravely rescuing you.

    Let’s just walk away from that hole now, he will not come.
    Neither you nor I would make for a damsel in distress.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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