Excerpt: 'Today: 101 Ghazals'

'Today: 101 Ghazals' cover
Sheep Meadow Press

Today: 101 Ghazals
By Suzanne Gardinier
Paperback, 193 pages
List Price: $13.95

9
I've lost my shoes Have you seen them
The winged ones that used to carry me
I've heard that when people die they remember
their mothers and call in the night Carry me
When my son used to say I can do it myself
he was whispering Could you carry me
When the quick rain soaks the shoulders of my shirt
it's saying Just for now Carry me
There's a tenderness around your eyes
Have enough tears said Carry me
All day in this new dream I walk on gravel
and the words you didn't whisper carry me
When my mother arrives at the end of something
it's to faint in my arms and say Carry me
I've known how to walk since before I was born
It's useless to try to carry me
What the dazzle of light says as it touches
the wave swelling Cresting Breaking Carry me
What the secrets say as they line the edges
of my eyes Your eyes Carry me
What the shoeless stammerer doesn't say
as she doesn't step into your arms Carry me

11
Put your finger to my lips will you
Before I say something past forgiving
Tell me where your hands have been
Tell me what you've done that's past forgiving
I know someone who's free but not here
Past touch Past memory Past forgiving
The guards in lines try to take off their flesh
and put on steel Past death Past forgiving
Your voice A clear stream over gravel Laced with trembling
A hesitation between orchards Past forgiving
Your ankles pale on the couch The day fading
Did you mean to show me what's past forgiving
The way your hips used to tell me the truth
that is not the truth and is Past forgiving
Those the guards touch strapped in ice and plastic
The faces on street posters Past forgiving
The emperor's loyal ones cheering Is this
how our children will learn what's past forgiving
A woman with a photograph Her mother's face
Which of them is past forgiving
Who's here Your trespasser Blinder of witnesses
Past purity Past famine Past forgiving

45
Wasn't that your cheek against mine last night
Gin Streetlight When somebody loves you Impossible
When you reach the broken paddock fence
the sign will say Impossible
The color God painted my eyes A cross
between storm and ewerstream Impossible
All your wrong lovers without certificates
Stamped across their foreheads Impossible
Dear Torch Received your kind invitation
Regret conflagration impossible
You must mean a phantom Your hand at her waist
Your ache at her absence Not mine Impossible
A holy place in the emperor's city
A peach in a stone Impossible
You the mask of a ram I the mask of a bull
Horn chips Mischling Torn doors Impossible
Dance without footprints Dance with no name
in a room with no lovers not touching Impossible
Your eyes One protecting your sleeping son's dreaming
One torchlit and trying to close Impossible
Dear Lion Here's a gazelle Hold her
in your teeth but no biting Yours Impossible

Excerpted from Today: 101 Ghazals by Suzanne Gardinier. Copyright (c) 2008. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Sheep Meadow Press.

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