Susie Gharib

Replete with the Nile of my teens
with the reproaches of Cairo's mummies
that in coffins of glass are encaged
for public gaze,
with Ra,
with Pharaohs' deities,
with St. Catherine's wheel,
with St. Anthony's monasteries,
with Alexandria's Ptolemaic histories,
with the secret power of Giza's pyramids
which made me ponder for days:
Should I opt for Egyptology
for my postgraduate studies?
But who would sponsor a female without means
to decode hieroglyphic mysteries?
Replete with the Mediterranean of my genes,
with its redolent breeze,
with Atargatis
and her sacred fishes,
with Phoenician galleys
with Chevaliers.
Should I opt for a medieval treatise?
But who would allow me access to entombed realities?
I'd better stick to rhetoric spheres,
lest my perspicacity be burnt at the stake
on Friday the thirteenth.

They speak of my retreat psychoanalytically
as a regrettable condition to be confiscated
for I have persistently abstained
from partaking of the secret knowledge
of these self-ordained, fashionable dames
who voice their oracles in street-cafes
in the glow of charcoal and hookahs' haze:
Sarsara's vermillion, plumped-up lips
do not at all match her hips.
The augmented mounds of Rita's breasts
are not as pointed as Giza's Pyramids.
Mrs. Kaffani's sculpted cheeks
will be bereft of kisses on peaks.
Their husbands' antlers exceed the height
of the Eiffel Tower by a terrestrial mile….”

I had opted for silence Far From the Madding Crowd.
My horse gallops along Ivanhoe's from sunset to sunrise.
Like a monastic gnostic, I am in pursuit of light,
an academic anchorite.

Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with aPh.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Adelaide Literary Magazine, TheCurlew, The Ink Pantry, A New Ulster, Down in the Dirt, the PLJ, andMad Swirl.


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