Five For My Eye: II

Smoke swings in the air,
drowning us in oyster fumes.

I’ll never scrub it out of my skin.
I sit here waiting, having
arrived ten minutes ago.
I was hot then but now
I am turning tepid.

You sit there and feebly flirt;
bumping me with your elbow
as if I’m not even here.
Why did I bother?

He’s not really interested in you, you know.
He comes here; he passes time with you, but
do you honestly think he will take you home?
Or pen you into his biographical tome?
Why do you bother?

Stop blowing smoke in my face!

Wake up!
Don’t you see that he is looking past
you into the mirror to ensure that his
hair is still perfectly quaffed?
A suspicious wife is a willful wife.
I’ve tried to shine truth upon you.

If I could walk out right now, I would.
You must leave first.

This night grows weary of your laughter.
I grow weary of this night.


This is the second in a series of five poems inspired by the photography of Constantine Brassaï.


어두운  그림자는  나타나다
창문밖에  앉아  있는 올빼미가  저보다  훨씬  슬기로운  것 같다
어둠  속을  보는  올빼미가  두렵지  않다

Dark shadows arise.
The owl that is perched outside of the window seems far wiser than I.
He looks into the obscurity and is not afraid.

Four Shades

My burdened arms row under a smothering sky.

Father stands in the middle of our shikara
observing the current with a mournful aspect.
He shall soon pay old debts with fresh blood.
Tomorrow, my sister will be yoked to a man
whose face is as unknown to her as the ocean floor.
She is eclipsed under a white hijab yet silent
tears have made her pashmina damp with
anguish for the woman that she will become.
The dolls that she supped with yesterday are
already relics of more innocent times.
Our little sun with coffee colored
eyes has a face like a sacred lotus.
I am glad that I cannot see it now, for such
sweetness marred by suffering is a sorrowful vision.

Mother sits next to father, draped in black
in preparation for the requiem.
Her tears roll inward, down to her heart,
but she makes no sound.

An ancient troller in a smaller shikara briefly
locks eyes with me before he docks for his
midday meal; he watches our somber collective
with curiosity and then turns his attention back
to the shore, convinced that the four shades
behind him were only a mirage.


Inspired by the work of Abbas from the Magnum Photo Cooperative