Water is my element,
hence the Summer became a girlhood’s favourite scene,
heralding swimming, boats and vanilla ice-cream,
but it took English Studies in my late teens
to make me enamored with autumnal traits.
Grey became imbued with a literary hue,
with the Brontës roaming the Yorkshire moors,
the Romantics in melancholic moods,
and the Graveyard poets contemplating mortality amid tombstones.
My book cover of Wuthering Heights showed a Byronic hero
against a livid wold.
The wind howled in my soul.
No distance could estrange Catherine and Heathcliff
who taught me spiritual fortitude.
And dark clouds that omens forebode
began to change their dismal discourse
since what blessed Coleridge’s ancient mariner with rain-outpours
evoked the very spirits that sent the frozen ship on its course
though no breeze breathed or spoke,
a metaphor for divine intervention
despite the transgression of an errant soul.
The elms so thinned by Blair’s rude winds
not even two crows could build a dwelling
now mirror the nudity of my old age,
shedding its sorrows and tenacious grief,
preparing for the flight beyond the grave.
A daughter takes after her father
When I was nine years old, I pouted my lips
to blow a tune through his trumpet,
my hands unsteady beneath its weight.
At seventeen, I puffed at his pipe.
liked neither its taste nor its swirling clouds.
It merely imbued me with fatherly pride.
He always pondered over his books,
his bent back indicative of a speculative mood,
inspiring my long spells of solitude.
He tended the wounds of stranded birds.
A recuperative hand became his trait
that lent to mine an addiction to aid.
The shades of blue he constantly wore
evoking the sea that buffeted our boat
have left the flow that ripples my thoughts.
I catch a glimpse of the vibrant yonder,
a radiant house that sleeps beneath
a fluttering, yellow maple tree,
a lake seducing the lucent moon
to quiver on its heaving bosom,
a lawn on whose silken skin
pirouettes a barefooted nymph,
a dray of squirrels that emptied nuts
of all their sealed contents,
a herd of horses who’ve never been ridden,
a flock of sheep that roam un-chidden,
a cluster of violets awaiting a breeze
to caress each enraptured face,
a shadow that saunters all alone
longing to mingle with my own.
What deeds have you deleted from your subterranean archives,
the ones you keep in your subconscious, diaries, and half-written memoirs?
Torturing, when a child, a clan of ants,
locking butterflies in tight-shut jars,
peeping though keyholes at a neighbour’s wife,
compromising savings by stealing a dime,
seducing a schoolmate with a fake smile,
wetting your bed in the middle of the night,
playing the heroic when you are afraid to die,
breaking every promise your tongue contrived,
slighting many a devoted friend,
adhering blindly to a deadly trend,
attempting suicide for a frivolous wench,
accusing falsely to shirk a debt!
I always marvel at the scale of events
deleted from CVs, bios, and self-narratives.
Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Adelaide Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Ink Pantry, Mad Swirl, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, and Down in the Dirt.