So Long, Marianne, Leonard Cohen had sung
when I was a thing of the future and still unborn,
intuiting the ways of the world from an unhappy womb.
My father died when I was six months old.
My eyes cannot recall his mien, my ears his voice,
too preoccupied with the milk that mixed with diluted salt.
“So Long,” she whispered when I became only one,
entrusting me to what she deemed trustworthy hands,
rescuing me from penury by severing a sacred bond.
And who says food is more important than love!
A child gets more sustenance from a maternal hold.
Now I feel as starved as when I was an infant bereft of home.
So Long Mariannes, Miriams, Marys and all wretched mums.
The drab features of the dullest of days,
a frowning sun
and a languid moon that’s loath to scintillate,
a mast-less ship that has loitered for a hundred years
in yonder bay.
The minutes that tick on the mantelpiece
the passage of time, deafening my ears,
an unnerving similitude of reiterative ills
in yonder abyss.
The bland voice that dictates the norm
to which homo sapiens has conformed
continues to drawl
in every soul
beyond yonder walls.
The desk that has harassed necks and spines
irreverently reclines upon the ground,
sluggish with pride,
a monument for lives ill-spent in strife
in yonder hives.
A Reading of the Film Bee Season
I always associated magic with evil deeds,
with hags and cauldrons, with boiling snakes,
with sowing discord amid matrimonial seeds,
with ruptures, with effigies, with psychic disease,
with a trail of misfortunes that never cease.
Kabbalah was one word that filled me with fear,
a cultural legacy that ignorance had reared,
but it took a movie with Richard Gere
to show me how words transcend their spheres
to attain a hearing in God’s own ears
with a possible response from the Mighty Creator.
[For my Loulou Spitz]
What is in this white, little paw?
A pledge of friendship,
A tenacious hold,
A grasp of firmness
in a very ephemeral world.
What is in this rubber-like, tiny nose
that nestles to every item of clothes,
that sniffs each fragrance,
each odor of socks,
and hoard them like bones?
What is in these fluffy, drooping ears
that capture the pulse of inward fears,
that yearn for footsteps,
for the rustle of treats,
for fluttering heartbeats?
What is in this proud, arching tail
that heralds a storm of greetings,
that eloquently commands attention and praise,
the art of hailing?
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.
You can find more of Susie’s work here on Ink Pantry.