Poems by Rafiq Kathwari


For Agha Shahid Ali

In Kashmir, half-asleep, Mother listens to the rain.
In Manhattan, I feel her presence in the rain.

A rooster precedes the Call to Prayer at Dawn:
God is a namedropper: All names at once in the rain.

Forsythias shrivel in a glass vase on her nightstand.
On my windowsills, wilted petals, a petulance in the rain.

She must wonder when I will put on the kettle,
Butter the crumpets, observe silence in the rain.

She veils her hair, offers a prater across the oceans
Water on my hands becomes a reverence in the rain.

At Jewel House in Srinagar, Mother reshapes a ghazal.
"No enjambments!" she says as I romance the rain.

"Rafiq," I hear her call above the city din
The kettle whistles: Mother's scent in the rain.