The Hands of the Wind

I hold the hands of the wind and try to read its destiny, the lines
deep like the frown of dry river beds, the faint fragrance of

jasmine heating my senses. It could have been from a bride’s
nuptial bed or a funeral cortege, here the language for welcome

and departure is the same, the earth gives and takes back with moon
petals shimmering in its guts. The wind has a love line so long, it

ties every moment gone by to that evening in the coffee shop, when
you read ghazals aloud in the afternoon haze and a life line that

knew the mountains before they scattered into desert sand, the rain
when it was ripe in the throat of the fish, poems before there were

words to name flowers and silence simply went from weddings to
shallow graves smelling of nameless need. The wind shows me its circular

fate line, karma tied in a knot, what does it matter where it comes from,
if that is beginning or end. I hold the hands of the wind and we sing in

metered couplets, the words for love and life and fate are the same
and Hafez is only a fleeting swallow with a jasmine seed in his breast.


This poem was published in the Calamus Journal in December 2017. The Calamus Journal, though, shut shop in February 2018 and the original links to its website no longer work. I’m sure they had good reasons, a journal is a huge amount of work – but when I discovered that this poem was essentially homeless, I decided to bring it in from the cold.

I haven’t sent in any poems in several months and I’m wondering – do you submit poems for online publication? Why not? What has been your experience? Do share your submission stories here! 


Only the Wind

only the wind,
much later,
combing the grass
below the stately banyan,
dragging stale crumbs
into the vortex of a startled gasp,
feet bleeding,
heart racing
ahead of its trembling hands;

only the wind,
that stumbled upon the ring,
the big yellow diamond
like a chunk of cringing sun,
face half-buried in the mud,
a jaundiced star
trapped inside a gold mirage;

they say it wasn’t yet fall,
they say it was still warm,
but the leaves turned a sickly mustard hue,
falling in sallow clumps,
a stained blanket heaped over
an unclaimed corpse;
they say it never really dried,
and yet one day the whole tree died;

only the wind,
hugging the secret to its rheumy chest,
sometimes watched the stranger watch,
from a distance,
through the silence,
feeling the footsteps in the grass,
hearing time as it passed,
they say his eyes never dried,
and yet the light in them had died;

only the wind,
unable to lift it,
unable to leave it,
whistled over the lifeless plain,
sang alone of the toxic pain,
that still seeped
from the interred stone,
eating the roots
that embraced it.

For the midweek prompt at Poets United– “Picnic”.
Inspired by W.H Auden’s haiku:
Thoughts of his own death,
like the distant roll
of thunder at a picnic.
Marginalia (1965-68)

Near Truth

in the eternal bower,
with the intoning jasmine buds,
like famished lovers,
side by side,
dunking squares of moon
in lakes of silvery milk,
not talking,
not touching,
just the wind,
hands still damp from the ocean,
pulling and tucking the night
under bare ankles;
in the near dark,
in the near light,
stars settling on sweetened lips,
a measured glance,
an unexpected sigh,
love and life,
temperamental mistress
and capricious paramour;
not living,
not loving,
just the wind,
unfurling a tentative curtain of light
before unseeing eyes;
shuffling silhouettes and shadows,
side by side,
in the near truth,
in the near pretence,
like elegant strangers,
building walls of cold sunshine
in the space between them,
love and life.

Pictures of the Wind

Remember when the brittle rainbow cracked,
and rubble painted the prostrating grass,
the frowning magnolia, its bower stacked,
showered perfumed curses on folks that passed.
Phantom fingers rummaged through cloud flecked hair,
breath lingered long in the arms of a gust,
sky and sea twirled like a blue gazelle pair,
brown columns swirled through the gathering dust.
A parka huddled with a throbbing heart,
a voice rushed by with a red lipstick smear,
monochrome kites flew like winged charcoal art,
the shivering leaves chanted odes to fear.
Remember then on the silence was pinned,
creased, unmoving, our pictures of the wind.

Linked to imaginary garden with real toads


A solitary flame
strides through
the brooding dark.
Could it be him?
The tepid wind mocks –
is bringing home
a lucky star.

Poetweet: Exactly 140 characters long including spaces and punctuation.

April:#2- 01/30

For the Poetry Jam prompt: Flame