is my weakness; God makes this easy
to understand. Like the kingâ€™s boyhood friend
who grew to tend a small farm and curse his ox nightly,
I canâ€™t help but feel Iâ€™m underachieving. Iâ€™m not deceived
by this life, by the certainty of need, but consider
the prophet who gave away his water bowl
when he saw a woman drinking from her handsâ€”
today an entire river surrounds his tomb. The desire
to help others is a kind of symmetry. As a boy I gave a hateful teacher
a list of one hundred quotes on compassion from the Quran.
He hung a poster of George Bush by the blackboard
and started purposely mispronouncing my name.
I canâ€™t say it enough: God will not send us more
than we can waste. Lately itâ€™s seemed the old rainwhipperâ€™s
been sleeping or maybe just gone, and Iâ€™m still here
saddled with thirst and brittle skin that yields
to whatever bites. I shall not grieve the absence
of miracles. I shall not grieve absence at all: not winter jasmine
blooming only at night or my motherâ€™s lazy eye or
the kudzuâ€™s path from one tree to another. Itâ€™s ridiculous
to think I could keep any of it. Before long,
the earth will swallow even my sound.
~ Kaveh Akbar
Kaveh Akbar is the founder and editor ofÂ Divedapper. His poems are forthcoming inÂ The Boston Review,Â Narrative, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest,Â and elsewhere. Kaveh is a Ph.D. candidate at Florida State University, where he teaches and serves as Book Reviews Editor for theÂ Southeast Review. His chapbook,Â â€˜Portrait of the Alcoholicâ€™, will be out with Sibling Rivalry Press in January 2017.Â