Monday, August 11, 2014

Two Poems by Art Heifetz

Chez Heshme

It seems like yesterday
I was dining chez Heshme
on a pigeon a student had brought
in payment for his lessons
served up in a piquant sauce
on a bed of steaming couscous
with the sheeps balls Heshme said
would make me virile.
Tears streamed down my face
the tiny bones caught in my throat
I cried for more water
and the brown burnooses heaved
with raucous laughter

When I returned at sixty
with an envelope of old photos
everybody argued over
who was who
the restaurant remodeled
Heshme gone to his reward.
But dining there alone
I could still see his bovine face
behind the counter
beaming like the laughing cow
on a box of French cheese.
I could still feel
the warmth of your petite body
curled up like a satisfied cat
on my straw mattress.
I could still hear
the muezzin's cries as the lights
of the medina flickered on
reminding us that no one lasts forever
that before too long we'd all
be dining alone chez Heshme
on a plate of fragrant memories.


you were a child
of the East
not yet nineteen
hunched over your sitar
playing ragas for me
in your bedroom
your feet tucked under
the green sari
you always wore
your long braid
tossed back
over your shoulder

your body had already
turned against you
but you talked about
the immortal soul
born again and again
in new incarnations

what form have you taken
now that you've left us?
are you the sparrow
perched on the fountain
or the caterpillar
inching its way
across the railing?

I imagine your ashes
floating down the Ganges
accompanied by
saucers of burning oil
petals of exotic flowers
and I a mourner on the shore
holding a candle
in a paper lantern
chanting a prayer to Vishnu
remembering your ragas
which changed
according to the season
according to your mood

Art Heifetz has published over 140 poems in 11 countries, winning second prize in the Reuben Rose international competition in Israel. See for more of his work.

No comments:

Post a Comment