Ramadan Day 17 – when does the fast begin

when does the fast begin

for my father


when does the fast begin

the morning meal or after


if i sleep through the night

does it begin before I fall asleep

or later when I’m tired


lions do not sleep too sweet

even God has become hungry

in the face of too many rabbits


i don’t know time can’t read it

all the chocolate has melted

a lump up on the kitchen counter


to attempt words is to attempt truth


i had to stop writing: words are poison i’m full

iftar is so late through the night my stomach swollen

at seven I stuffed paper into my mouth and chewed


on your screen

there are too many emoticons

i’m taking this chance to tell you


in prospect park

paddle-boaters float one loop

the woman’s kayak gripped by seaweed


who is to say when the fast begins

you made Allah

even as She made you


my first-born i’ll call denali

great one

she’ll be a lake in canada

not a mountain in alaska


i say to you

who is to say when the fast begins

after the lake he passed

in front of me

a briefcase and shoe sounds

i was running

i had the ticket in my hand

i wanted to catch him

press it in his palm


what would he think of

how i’ve fasted these years

without him here to guide me


i’d like to say it began

with him the birth after all

but i rewrite the story


the stars have eyes

i fell when one blinked

my mother’s net of tears


the gift tonight is spinning

our remembrance to end

on a constellation


too tired to make sense

God enters the contest

submits poems and letters


i lean toward flowers

plucked ten years past

clutched tightly in my hand

it’s as if time slipped

knees skinned on the platform

i wish he’d come back

to take the ticket i would

unlock time’s gate its penchant

for tragedy to take a walk

to place their perfect fragrance

beside my father’s grave



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