Dr. Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde.
Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The Curlew, A New Ulster,
Straylight Magazine, Down in the Dirt, The Ink Pantry, the
Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Mad Swirl, Leaves of Ink, the Avalon
Literary Review, The Opiate, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, WestWard
Quarterly, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Grey Sparrow Journal, The
Blotter, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Crossways, The Moon Magazine,
the Mojave River Review, Always Dodging the Rain, and Coldnoon.
The rain seeps into my brain.
The swishing of car-wheels entails mud-stains
on pants, in veins.
I strive to grasp
the shredded clouds
with dripping hands, in vain.
The trees, heeding my gaze,
now sway with contrived grace,
disguising their strain,
for the fog that stalks my pace
has begun to draw a face.
The leaves grimace.
A candle-flame is displaced.
A dog stops howling, disgraced
as a hand on my shoulders pats then strays
down to my hand that has grown quite weightless.
My fingers interlock with boneless flakes.
A torrent of glows seeps into my frame
as of bygone days
when we frequented this very same lane
to evade the hailstones of the human race.
Her face may be blurred by the mist of fifty years
but my childhood shores still boast the marvellous gifts
she once bequeathed,
the aeroplane magically flying above our heads,
the tortuous roads for sliding match-box cars in blues and reds,
Andersen’s tin soldier miraculously resurrected from the belly of the fish,
a doll, my height, with ebony lashes and gorgeous plaits,
a Christmas-ball with ballerinas of silver flakes,
and Joan d’ Arc on a Templar’s steed.
Her presence must have borne the vehement passion
the very ancient monasteries of Anatolia evoke,
she must have carried in her genes some ancestral trait
of the early Christian martyrs who readily died
for the King of Kings,
a Gregorian gift.
I felt anchored in her lap
and securely snug at the altar of her eyes,
on which burned candles whose stature remained intact
despite flames and flickers which refused to weep
while diffusing their innumerable halos of light.
How can we make amends
to lost friends
when every single utterance has been rendered impotent?
How can we redress the grievances
of forests’ inmates
whose habitats have been effaced?
How can we rectify the gaping holes
in heritage walls,
the crumbling leaves of historic lore?
How can we mitigate the bile
of wounded pride?
How can we reconcile
a face with a smile?
Atonement is not an invisible force
that embalms the mind with a remedial dose.
It is a genuine feeling of remorse
which to serious action it takes recourse.
It is an act of healing rift
that goes beyond verbal craft.
It is an effort to repair damage,
to rebuild, replant, retrieve and salvage.
A Student’s Reminiscences
Townhead, George Square, and Cathedral Street,
I tightly close my eyes on these Glaswegian spheres,
then distill them into cooling tears.
It’s true I was friendless and without means,
but at least I roamed those amicable domains
The front window of W.H. Smith
was my sanctuary in times of distress.
I walked the isles in search of books
I was certain I could not purchase,
instead inhaled the fragrance of print,
regaled my eyes with the gloss of tints
of Penguin, Macmillan and university presses,
and was not found wanting in taste
for preferring books to a hookah’s blaze.
And the monster who resided in the dark blue lake
had imparted its subterranean grace
to my slender frame,
for the ripples that caressed its bashful face
still carry the fragments of Columba’s gaze.