To Rodal Church
Some asylum seekers flee the penury of their homes,
others, the scourge of a tyrant
and very few the narrow horizon that constricts their roles.
They’re prepared to perish on their way to the land of their choice.
Some had suffocated in trucks.
Others drowned while traveling on the semblance of a boat,
but all have the same goal: a better life abroad.
Today I introduce a new type of asylum that the dead uphold,
when someone’s soul dictates its final abode.
So what if it dwells in some spot before the body has yielded the ghost!
What if it desires a grave with a view, abroad!
Mine is enamored with a site that it has spotted on Facebook,
the cemetery of a medieval church,
a stone’s throw from the shore,
where the chiefs of the MacLeod Clan tranquilly repose.
To Rodal Church my soul has immigrated without an application form,
hoping its home of clay will be eventually anchored in Scottish soil.
A lingering scent
He rolled his days like a cigarette,
lit with a spark of smouldering red,
then puffed away the crackling substance
weaving miasmas of tenacious stench
wherever he went.
A heap of ash and a charred fag end
is all that remains of an embittered friend,
a hymn to life, ill-spent, ill-burnt,
with a lingering scent.
When I was a child, I always drew a house
with slanting roofs whose red bricks were facing south.
A wide, white window overlooked a glade,
across which a brook cascaded its way.
On pastures, flowers were left un-plucked.
They pleaded with children to chop them not,
so their necks were spared the twisting cut.
A tree that craved to embrace the skies
diffused its branches to recline on walls,
endowing the dwelling with emerald robes.
A cloud, betrothed to an amorous ray,
was swathed in gold for the nuptial day,
while a ring of birds darted from dots,
rearing their wings in Vs and knots.
The air, made visible with random strokes,
exuded fragrance from lilacs and gorse.
A steed, unbridled, trotted with glee
with no wars or races to yoke or fray.
Citadels have portcullises and a steadfast drawbridge.
Mansions possess portals with optic eyes like owls' in a feast.
Graves are blessed with lids whose opening is a sacrilege.
Hearts have close-shut doors whose keys are absentees.
Palaces boast watchtowers with well-guarded gates.
Countries guard entrances with electrocuting wires and barricades.
Farms use fences with thorns and howling beasts.
Houses resort to latches, doorjambs, and well-forged keys.
But what about reincarnated Trojan horses!
I used to make many chains of pine needles
to wear around my neck at school
and cones were collected for Christmas
to be decked with fleecy cotton, my snow
for flakes do not make it to this part of the world.
I never expected Santa Claus to visit me
or to leave a gift for which I craved.
I always stood the tree in my bedroom,
knowing it would be glittering on its own,
at night and dawn.
It was enough for me that it glowed.
It took me years to realize that some presents
are invisible to me and the entire world.
Each Christmas I was adorned with a new gift
that I wore around my heart and soul,
the rarest of jewels.
My sapphire was the gift of blessing
every creature that swam or flew.
I never needed the Mariner’s albatross
to constrict my neck with a moral call.
It came to me in an intuitive form.
My ruby was the gift of loving
the human species despite its flaws.
I thought forgiveness was only possible
in fairy tales grandparents had told,
but I was wrong.
My emerald was the gift of giving
without expecting a recompense,
a generosity that grows each year more branches,
a canopy receiving man and fowl,
a dome for all.
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.