for Richard Howard

The servants never listen to me
Only when the new wife nods
They run around like rats
To fetch the thermos

There is poison in the spring water
A present from my son
In America — the wind

Carried my message
After all
Under my bed

I want latches on my door
And a mirror
The old one shattered
When the nail

Gave way
I hang my shawl on the wall
Dried roses upside down
My room not swept for six days

No water to
dunk clothes
My daughter will clean
When she visits

The door is bolted
From outside
If the house catches fire who will
Open it?

Will I burn alive?
The servant's outhouse
Turns my stomach
A pane is broken

I'll spray Chanel!
My grandson from his grave
Come to visit
He is with his great-grandfather

They both received transfusions
My husband says I don't need a doctor
But that doesn't keep his new wife
From going to Combined Hospital

I am still the head of this household
O Wind
Tell my son in America
The dollars he sends

The new wife steals
Tell him I need a car
To buy roses
At Shalimar

My husband has lost interest
In roses
For years he's been saying
Maryam is mad, mad

Is there anything wrong with me if
My sky is vaster than my mind?
My son builds homes for me
In America

Views of river and rolling hills
The Maharaja of Kashmir exhales—
No water
I have no water

The servant washing dishes
Keeps it from reaching me
Everyone has cancer
Including the midwives

O North wind
What is taking my grandson so long?
Dead mosquitoes
In my denture bowl

by Rafiq Kathwari