It has been seven years since my wedding
And in this time I have grown wealthy
on mind’s inspiration born of her kiss,
My market stall became an emporium within this city.
My retail, expanded,
My stock, once monosyllabic and dull in my antipodean slumber, within this northern hive of commerce, a fruitful fractal of finery now,
garments of harmonious hue,
garments chief, choice, brave and new,
from flowing robes of Buddhist saffron to a poet’s yellow host,
embroidered oriental, so rare and fine,
Almost molecular in
counterpoint frills that echo Spanish ancestors.
I have grown wealthy: all from
mind’s inspiration born of her kiss.
And profits have bought me a house in this city, wherein
my daughters play in comfort, sheltered, knowing no hardship,
after school sparkling shrieks and pearls of laughter fill this space,
games and TV and fairy tales fill this air,
and I trip over the toys and trinkets that lay about in the joyful careless spoilt provision of parents who remember what it was to have not.
The scent of her nomadic cookery, that I first tasted in our Siberian courtship:
And she feeds the girls this sweet meat from her hand,
and they know no hardship,
secure against autumn winds that begin to inflect a cold return.
It has been seven years since my wedding,
and today, suddenly, fear overtakes me, so that I cannot breathe:
the city increases its insecurity by the moment,
and, at last, I fall victim to its change in mode.
If all this were lost?
My stock, burnt.
My house, mortgaged.
Their schooling, unfinanced.
And my family, exiled from the city?
The fear of exile overtakes me, and I now cannot breathe for fear,
A father’s fear of falling.
What I have built, might evaporate, leaving them with nothing: synchronicity’s demonic twin takes hold of my mind
with the certainty of failure’s inevitable mistiming.
I break my fast premature, a famed tailor’s discipline snapping like a dry branch
a weak man’s discipline:
not broken by physical disaster, not by death or war, not excused by real pain and loss,
(not broken by a reality that a true Muslim will maintain in success, maintain in prayer)
but by an unexpected onslaught of … a shopkeeper’s self-doubt?
Weakness! The bigger they think they are, the harder they will inevitably fall.
Go outside to the garden and light up a cigarette, spluttering in its
existential offense, against night’s darkness, against a powerful rain.
Then I fall to the ground and supplicate:
for the dawn of new clarity descends upon me.
While the fear is trivality and abstract, unreal, invented
This mistiming, doubt’s origin, is concrete, real, a physical position.
A man that turns his back: physically.
So I turn the other cheek now and Divine provision floods the city of its Watchers:
My stock was always burnt.
And the schooling is mine, not theirs.
And exile is the form of all du’a.
And the shelter was never mine to give, for they are my shelter
And the provision is not mine to give, for they are my provision.
I turn and we now stand, face to face:
She comes to hold me now, succor for a Tailor’s Falsity,
All profit, all truth, all aeons of song and logic and love compounded within
This exquisite complement, this charm of my life:
And I grow wealthy once again
on mind’s inspiration born of her kiss.