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The streetlamp above me darkens

From: New England Review
Volume 34, Number 1, 2013
pp. 158-159 | 10.1353/ner.2013.0038

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

after Jon Pineda

for this, I am grateful. This elegy
doesn’t want a handful of puffed rice

tossed with mustard oil and chopped chilies,
but wants to understand why a firefly

flickers off then on, wants another throatful
or three of whiskey. This elegy is trying

hard to understand how we all become
corpses, but I’m trying to understand

permanence, because this elegy wants
to be a streetlamp dying as suddenly as

a child who, in death, remains a child.
Somewhere, there is a man meant for me,

or maybe he is meant merely to fall
asleep beside me. Across two oceans, there

is a world in which I thought I could live
without grief. There, I watched the hands

of a leper reach with hands made of lace
towards a woman who leaned into him.

There, I fingered bolts of satin I never
meant to buy. There, no one said her name.

How to look down into the abyss without
leaning forward? How to gather the morning’s

flustered shadows into a river? To forget
my sister was ever born? Tonight, I will

watch a man I could have loved walk past,
hefting another woman’s child. He won’t

look at me. I won’t have wanted him to.
This elegy wonders why it’s so hard

to say, I always miss you. Wait, she might
have said. But didn’t you want your palms

to be coated in mustard oil? Did you really
want to forget the damp scent of my grave?

Tarfia Faizullah  

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam, winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and forthcoming in 2014 from Southern Illinois University Press. Her poems have appeared in Missouri Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and a Ploughshares Cohen Award, as well as scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop, and Vermont Studio Center.

Copyright © 2013 Middlebury College Publications
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Tarfia Faizullah. "The streetlamp above me darkens." New England Review 34.1 (2013): 158-159. Project MUSE. Web. 8 Jul. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Faizullah, T.(2013). The streetlamp above me darkens. New England Review 34(1), 158-159. Middlebury College. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Tarfia Faizullah. "The streetlamp above me darkens." New England Review 34, no. 1 (2013): 158-159. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 8, 2013).
T1 - The streetlamp above me darkens
A1 - Tarfia Faizullah
JF - New England Review
VL - 34
IS - 1
SP - 158
EP - 159
PY - 2013
PB - Middlebury College
SN - 2161-9131
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_england_review/v034/34.1.faizullah.html
N1 - Volume 34, Number 1, 2013
ER -


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