Vacating an Apartment

Efficient as Fate,
each eye a storm trooper,

the cleaners wipe my smile
with Comet fingers
and tear the plaster
off my suicide note.

They learn everything
from the walls' eloquent tongues.

Now, quick as genocide,
they powder my ghost for a cinnamon jar.

They burn my posters
(India and Heaven in flames),

whitewash my voicestains,

make everything new,
clean as Death.

When the landlord brings new tenants,
even Memory is a stranger.

The woman, her womb solid with the future,
instructs her husband's eyes
to clutch insurance policies.

They ignore my love affair with the furniture,
the corner table that memorized
my crossed-out lines.

Oh, she's beautiful,
a hard-nippled Madonna.

The landlord gives them my autopsy;
they sign the lease.

The room is beating with bottled infants,
and I've stopped beating.

I'm moving out holding tombstones in my hands.

by Agha Shahid Ali

Comments (8)

i don't throw this word around lightly, but this is BRILLIANT. i think you have effectively cornered the market on satirical poetry, PoHo. what you did to Frost here is like turning a Van Eyck painting into a Rockwell. Jake
I hadnt taken time to read this, PH...and found it witty, sharp, and well-written. This should be sent somewhere for publication...there ought to be a market somewhere. Now I need to go heal my 'bite wounds' and come back for more. :) Raynette
I can't believe I haven't read this before now. What a corker! You've taken one of my favourite poems and used it to have a very witty go at one of my least favourite things - 10,10, dammit,10! Hugs Anna xxx PS How many republicans does it take to change a lightbulb? None. There is nothing wrong with the lightbulb and any suggestions to the contrary are part of an evil smear campaign by the liberal media. This lighbulb has worked admirably and has served its purpose well. Why do you hate freedom?
Funny and sharp! Although Republicans like things all white, they are ignoring the oncoming global warming.. What a quandry they'll be in then... -chuck
I can just about feel the earth shake with Robert's laughter, as once again you delightfully take aim at such a deserving target, o such sweet slaughter! phillip
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