My mother tells this story
about her childhood in Kashmir
years before she married my father.

“I remember our horse Burak,
hoofs scuffing snow, nostrils fuming,
hitched to an open cart. Relatives,

showering rice and rose petals
on Mohammed’s shrouded body—
the son my father always wanted

to whom I was betrothed—
wailed not for a soul departed
but sang of a bride waiting

for an intended groom
who succumbed
to the Mother Of All Chills.”

Four score and three years later
Mother rises from the bright
Ethan Allen tightback couch

at her son’s home in New Rochelle
to do what now she does best
—merging time past and time present—

whispers across Long Island Sound,
have they given you a transfusion

By Rafiq Kathwari, whose first book of poems is forthcoming in September 2015 from
Doire Press, Ireland. More work here.