By Farah Ghafoor
I’ll admit I don’t know the lives of the jasmine twirling upturned in the glass bowl on the kitchen table. Beheaded, identical, those dozen pale swimmers. Nor the pink dozing roses lopped off at the neck with a deliberate stroke. I don’t know the names of the rusting peach stars in the garden, their distinguished fertilizers, and the periwinkle claws peeking over the wooden borders before they continue their sprawl inward. The air still wet after night-rain, a pair of milk hearts sway into the dark crooked arms of the butterfly bush, over the stubbly black domes of daisies.
While studying the earth opera and their foreign voices, I had predicted the weather, too, incorrectly. The prerequisite is an attachment to memory, so the clouds’ clatter arrived without my seeing, my warning. The spoiled house plants drowned in minutes. I didn’t think to save them, having looked at them so long they disappeared.
Novelty, on another October day,
When the light strides in, loping behind it is shadow. The cabbage white butterfly floats like a dream, swiftly across the yard. It too asks me if I am here to announce nothing. And that, perhaps, is true, my eyes ajar for all that cratered light, and in the water, all that love.
A green room, grassed, ivory-walled: fiction
from another life. Death restless as a seed
in each of us, but tell me a different story,
The hibiscus’ cardinal ears fall, press against
the ground in its new skin of cold. What they hear
ages them further, and they can not return
to convey anything back to us. But who
could bear that dark? Its predictions?
to endure everything, everything that–
Dreams of spring, its directionless
music, because even I am childish. Its pastel
houses, its eggs pregnant with what I could
fashion my life.
Magpies and the diaries of another, strawberry shortcake, the caresses
of the sun and endless rain, but I am most romantic
in the incurable alone of a baroque still-life.
In its mirror, I would beg publicly for a beautiful
day and all of its mistakes with my blood-funnel
If I let them to the wind, tomorrow
could make way for today.
But I wake, bitter, in a lusterless, sea-colored room.
Colder than the day, the edges of it numb.
Once, after walking through the green hallway,
I entered the clearing and sat still for a photograph.
A buzz drifted near, and I almost smiled, knowing
I couldn’t have provoked it. I knew everything about it
before it stabbed my ankle, and I sat with my back
rooted, hands demurely petalled over my lap. I grinned
over nothing, my lungs a perfect engine.
Powerless my search after I stood, ashamed. The day lit like a glass bulb, and the sun established at that imperious centre, its terrible white face above me. The wind sizzled their leaves, sharpened jade points into the inevitable yellow.
Even they were afraid of the strange glittering breath of the end.
Another call, another call
The day so sheer
I could have imagined it,
but I will not be afraid of this world.
Farah Ghafoor's poems are published in Cream City Review, Room, Ninth Letter, Hobart and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets and Best of the Net, and is taught at Iowa State University. Born in New York, she was raised in New Brunswick and Ontario.