Searchers: A Ghazal
I wait beside the post box for evidence, even hasted, of prodigal or slender return;
Where, where are you now, dear one, while I untie letters stamped to sender return?
He fly-baits a particular pole inherited sideways from some childless great-uncle;
a luckless pole, never knowing a fish’s bite: its only tug when hooks to keeper return.
A stack of fusty books, dog-earred with blue-ink notes she hope he’d eventually spy
are stored somewhere in his new attic. There is a kind of loss that surrenders return.
Fubsy on a splintery oak stump, an old man digs dirt-lines to chronicle the ways his children
Marriages. Moves. Suspended calls—as he tries to learn what sort of wrath engenders return.
We listen for our names to receive partible gifts, made plans for them in a ledger
reserved for new luxuries. They are not yet ours. We are no devisers of return.
And I grant you the old currier’s stinking, tawny-stained hands know much of the fumbling craft
in the ornamentation of flayed things; burnished and stretched, a sort of splendor returns.
A prayer of Bartimeus, when his sight left him for the second time.
from Matthew 20
Omniscient and therefore all-baffling God,
Who brings my last days in some dark gospel
to fruit or ruin or a happy truce with this clod:
Whose sight is a harridan sitting at her throstle
spinning meager rags for naked princes
in love with patterns of some obscurity;
think, Knower, what sort of murk evinces
your own sight like a stiff Dark and Stormy,
crushed—with extra lime pulp—not unlike
your Son. He, so it’s said, could bring song
out of clay, and did he not, stripped on the spike,
plead unanswered truths? So, I ask headlong:
Sight again, Eternal-Mud, to mud by mud give;
for dried now, I crumble, how-shattered and loose-live.
The Orrery of Afflictions
Study the orrery of afflictions,
the correlatives of our orbiting
pains. What unseen mass with unrelenting
strength pulls you into its jurisdiction
and hands down laws begrudgingly obeyed?
To move one meager moon moves its planet;
even dust bears gravity, though delayed.
Grief has no other course but manent
but through uneven phases is perceived,
well-judged according to its tilt toward light.
Look at the model, each body accounted,
save one; for more perplexing than sharpest blight
is that which predicts, yet not here scaled:
for grace too is relative, though obliquely measured.
Grant William Currier’s work, often inspired by the stories of his Hungarian heritage, has appeared in The South Dakota Review, Waxwing, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, ZeitHaus, and The Rubbertop Review. His non-fiction has appeared or is forthcoming from Revenant and The Englewood Review of Books. He teaches at Oklahoma State University where he is earning his PhD in English.