is my weakness; God makes this easy
to understand. Like the king’s boyhood friend
who grew to tend a small farm and curse his ox nightly,
I can’t help but feel I’m underachieving. I’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 hands—
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 can’t say it enough: God will not send us more
than we can waste. Lately it’s seemed the old rainwhipper’s
been sleeping or maybe just gone, and I’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 mother’s lazy eye or
the kudzu’s path from one tree to another. It’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 of Divedapper. His poems are forthcoming in The Boston Review, Narrative, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Kaveh is a Ph.D. candidate at Florida State University, where he teaches and serves as Book Reviews Editor for the Southeast Review. His chapbook, ‘Portrait of the Alcoholic’, will be out with Sibling Rivalry Press in January 2017.