A Distant Music

A Distant Music

August is Summer Reading Month in Daily Nutmeg, and Claire Zoghb is this week’s featured author. Please enjoy these poems from Zoghb’s chapbook Boundaries.

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Katyusha

Katyusha is a wartime song about a girl longing for her beloved and the name of a multiple rocket launcher first used by the Red Army during World War II. The rockets make a distinctive moaning sound in flight.

Trailing a white ruffled sash
it flies due south

casting a shade
across the Galilee
so brief
no one notices.

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Slender-waisted maiden
in a cloudless azure dress

how is it I know your name

and not the name
of the first man you meet

he, at midday rest
in the orchards
green almonds
slipping
from his gnarled hand
eyes closing on a dream:

his wife as a girl
among sheep like clouds
at rest on the hillside
her khimar
the exact shade of the sky
she walks into

her name
a distant music on the wind.

The Lion of Panjshir

For Ahmad Shah Massoud, assassinated by bin Laden’s agents two days before the 9/11 attacks

You’ve the look of a savior in your fine bones.
I mistook you for Bob Marley on the book’s cover.
Your Tajik hat could have held piles of dreads.
But it’s a Kalashnikov in your long brown fingers.

I mistook you for Bob Marley on the book’s cover.
Perhaps you were a musician. Before the Soviets came.
That Kalashnikov in your long brown fingers?
Its inventor dreamt of poetry before the Nazi invasion.

Perhaps you were a musician—then the Soviets came
And the soundtrack of your life became small-arms fire.
Its inventor dreamt of poetry before the Germans invaded;
Now your men all hold his work in their mountain hands.

So the soundtrack of your life became small-arms fire—
What else do you do, when life intrudes on your dreams?
Now your men all hold AK-47s in their mountain hands.
Bob sang Every little thing gonna be all right

What do you do, when life invades your dreams?
Your Tajik hat could have held piles of dreads.
You promised the people: Every little thing gonna be all right
You’ve the look of a savior in your fine bones.

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Boundaries by Claire Zoghb
Published in The Delphi Series, vol. 4, Blue Lyra Press, 2016
Where to buy: RJ Julia | IndieBound | Amazon

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