Ghazal

for Mimi Khalvati

The air thickens, already more than half in summer.
At the corner café, girls in T-shirts laugh in summer.

The city streets, crowded with possibility
under spring rain, thin out, don’t promise enough in summer.

That urge to write one’s life instead of living it
makes sentences slip limply off-the-cuff in summer.

Stacked in a drawer under an expired passport,
curly-head in an orchard smiles for a photograph in summer.

Going downstairs early for bread: two winos snore on the landing,
“Can’t they make do with sleeping in the rough in summer?”

Hard-case on the street, teacher out of class both harbour
a low-grade fever and productive cough in summer.

Espresso winter, springtime of Juliénas:
black tea with honey’s what I’ll quaff in summer.

Despite my wall of books and Bach’s geometries,
some scent wafts from the street to call my bluff in summer.

Not in a tank but a golf cart rides the oligarch:
however, he does not dismiss his staff in summer.

Let them not, in Maryam’s name or Marilyn’s,
blot any cindered city off a graph in summer.