I rule an urge to jump in the sea. No
one taught me how to swim, and if
someone had I would be diving

in the Atlantic now lapping the sea
wall around my son’s home in New
York. A rogue assaults my senses,

flouting even American laws, digging
deeper to find more than gold. Spineless
like his father, my son is scared to seize

the rogue. Don’t treat me like a child
I tell Giselle, the maid from Haiti, who
is her own asylum as she wraps a bib

around my neck. How long more must
I bear this circus? My son has promised
to fix my departure date for Kashmir, but

I know he is only teasing, “Stay, now that
you are here,” he says, “No one to care
for you there in deep winter, no power, no

water, no heat, Dal Lake iced over, army
everywhere?” But my heart yearns to walk
under almond trees blossoming, sip noon

chai poured from a samovar at the Shalimar,
receive kisses from my great, great grandchildren,
one at a time on both cheeks. I hope you will

repaint my room, install modern sanitary fittings,
for I am still the head of our household despite
what the rogue whispers, always the whispers.

by Rafiq Kathwari, the first non-Irish winner of the Patrick Kavanagh 2013 Poetry Award