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Winter 1998, Volume 15.1

Poetry

 

G.S. Sharat Chandra


G. S. Sharat Chandra (M.F.A., U of Iowa) is Professor of English at the University of Missouri—Kansas City. The author of ten books and a former Fulbright Fellow and recipient of an NEA Fellowship, Chandra has published in
London Magazine, Paris Review, Partisan Review, Iowa Review, Poetry and other journals.  See other work published in Weber Studies by G. S. Sharat Chandra: Poetry—Vol. 4.1Vol. 7.1Vol. 9.3Vol. 12.2, Fiction—Vol. 15.1.

 

Brother

Last night I arrived
           a few minutes
before the storm,
on the lake the waves slow,
a gray froth cresting.
Again and again the computer voice said
you were disconnected
while the wind rattled
the motel sign outside my room
to gather
its nightlong arctic howl,
                 like an orphan moaning in sleep
for words in the ceaseless
pelting of sleet,

the night falling
to hold a truce with the dark

                   In the Botticellian stillness
of a clear dawn I drove
     by the backroads to your house,
autumn leaves like a school of yellow tails
hitting the windshield
in a ceremony of bloodletting.

Your doorbell rang hollow,
I peered through the glass door,
for a moment I thought
my reflection was you
on the otherside,
     staring back,
holding hands to my face.

It was only the blurred hold of memory
     escaping through a field of glass.

Under the juniper bush
you planted when your wife died,
I found the discarded sale sign, 

and looked for a window
where you'd prove me wrong
signaling to say
it was all a bad joke.

As I head back, I see the new
owners, pale behind car windows
driving to your house,

You're gone who knows where,
sliced into small portions

in the aisles of dust and memory.

 

Morning Song

To turn the lamp on,
let it capture the cunning back
of the literary thief,

to open the window
so the birds learn their words
instead of muddling them with chirps,

to whistle to the deaf horse grazing
in the windy backyard,
see in its steamy nostrils
the angelic clouds,

to stash the householder's concern
for this world in a trash bag
& applaud its disappearance
as if in an act at a carnival

to forgive those more able
to hold on to their daily pretensions
even as they wake from dreams.

O life, that settles into recesses
of sorrow in the company of others,

forgive this foolish human
who chooses what he doesn't know
of coming deceptions,

then dances with them
in a garage full of leaves.

 

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