You Woo Me
You speak of a coast that’s so pristine,
where the sand is decked with shells and pearls,
where the fish that venture into the air
are safe from spears and goring hooks.
There the trees that hum to the eager wind
have never been bled, or to fires fed
and nestlings whose parents fly all day long
are safe from fangs that crave for blood.
The ripples that lap its ancient rocks
know not the taste of flotsam or waste,
have never been whisked by engines whose grunts
can agitate the souls of the deep.
There I would romp with my shepherd dog
and walk barefooted along the bay,
and feed the dolphins as I do the swans
every urban but blessed weekend.
You woo me with a notion,
I scrutinize my map,
but startled wake up to the alarm clock:
my dog has been departed for over twelve months,
and your headstone is covered with ivy and moss.
the shop where I used to purchase my pint of milk,
the telephone booth that conjured up my next of kin,
the oldest house in Glasgow that nourished my medieval bent.
On Cathedral Street,
our window commanded an imposing view
of the historic cemetery where the gentry repose,
shielded by monuments of stone,
which are now a metaphor for tranquility and hope,
my shelter from a never-ending war;
the inn where I consumed my very first scone
with a Scot who wore no kilt
but was Celtic to the bone,
my very first friend in Glasgow.
the window-shopping of gorgeous stores
the Glasgow Film Theatre whose exotic films enthralled
aided by John Doyle’s jellies and popcorn.
She sat in a cage matted with wood shavings
opposite a cat who pranced with fright,
I wondered why he had placed them thus.
I was walking to escape our dose of darkness,
a three-hundred-minute power-cut,
periodically robbing evenings of work and fun.
A whimper then a scream of remonstrance
made me retreat to the very same spot
I always avoided with utter disgust.
With a stick, he was terrorizing his products:
rabbits, chickens, and all sorts of birds
to be docile and curb their wants.
I shun all dealings with whoever trades with lives,
but gazing into her eyes, I was utterly mesmerized,
a seven-month Loulou Spitz, mere merchandise.
He made me pay double the price she brought
for alarm was resonant in my voice
that had a pitch in the presence of abuse.
I called her Lucia, she brought me light.
Her name’s pronounced with the Italian tʃ sound
as in charming and cheering, the traits of my new friend.
The lamp that illuminated your pensive face,
kindling freckles that dot unadulterated benignity,
gilding the auburn that crowns your head,
rippling above a well-nurtured suavity,
cascading over your variegated lips,
suffusing wan cheeks with cordiality,
imbuing each iris with fiery rays,
redeeming each dilation from obscurity,
has been auctioned for sale.
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.