North of Longing, South of Hope


I.

every night

you turn on the lights

in the room he has left behind

on another continent

he buys a pack of almonds for memory

they sit unopened by his bedside

and back home

you are sifting through his clothes

not wanting to give them away

 

II.

the city grows to a handful of pearls

the plane hurtling to lift

as if heaving with regret

he closes the window to homeland

and searches for you among the passengers

an audience with its face turned away from him

 

III.

in the bathroom mirror

you inspect twenty-year old scars

the pocket you sewed into his shirt

to hold his passport safe

is a sutured wound he now wears

on all his travels

from you,

he has learned

the value of injury

 

IV.

cornered by grief

he plays and replays your voice messages

with the discipline of prayer

he folds your syllables into notes

your soft vowels into song

while you unseeingly switch the radio

back to his favorite channel

his words forming the ghazal you nod to quietly

 

V.

now that we are apart

let us pick some place in between

north of longing and south of hope

where we may meet every summer

to hear the crack of dawn

to let our hair turn silver

where I will not guilt you

for wanting me back

in the wrinkle of your womb

where you will love me

but just enough

to let me go