Gail Ghai


Tonight I can write the saddest lines
      as I listen to the last white trill
of the lark,
      the garden fountain spitting tears,
and remember all the jeweled colors
      he gave me:
pinks more intense than pink,
      yellows bright as licks of lemon,
reds deeper than the red-winged black bird--
      that shock of scarlet like a surprised kiss,
a late period,
      a shattered heart.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
      I loved him like a fever; he loved me
like a mayfly spanning only minutes,
      five, maybe six.
Maybe it was for a whole white day
      when snow piled around us
like a ring of crystal
      that hardened into ice, brittle,
cold to the touch of skin, hair,
      eyelashes, nostrils, cuticles,

The human circles and lines
      that understand first
what the mind can't gasp
      because the heart heals more
      than the brain,
because love is short,
      and forgetting is long,

a long, long, long time ago when
      I wrote the saddest lines
and called it therapy, veracity,
      a poem.