Dilruba Ahmed


Today I will
do better.  Today
I will not return
to the airport drunk
and blame the clerk
for shortchanging me
as I pay for coffee
that will fail
to erase the haze
I’d made for myself
in those dark hours—

you know to which
I refer—when no amount
of consolation,
neither trees nor prayer,
not ocean or peak,
neither living creature
nor inanimate thing,

neither the friends
whom I adore nor
the coastal elk
that once renewed me
on a hike with my love
along the rocky beach

of another life, with all
its fog-hidden green
and promise,
one whose snags
and troubles were so small,
so small

I can hardly see them now
from this new horizon
with which I have been left
one whose sweep

is nearly majestic
in its fullness—
how it swallows
everything before it

with its flatness, all
flat lines and flat sounds
of a terminal at the bedside—
What was it

I wished for?
No matter.  Today

I will do better.
Today I’ll make good

on all promises.