Ghazal of Curses

By Karl Zuehlke

A word rests on my tongue like a stone.
I open my mouth and it is still a stone.

 

I can write it out for you in cursive.

The way a ghost inhabits an outcrop of stone.

 

In a fever dream as a child I reached

toward a shut door and my arm was stone.

 

A field scatters into a flock of starlings—

pewter wings, inset bands of iridescent stone.

 

I was still until I knew I was

all that was still. I heard extruding stone.

 

If you lose your hand, make dice

from your knuckles and bet with stone.

 

When the sky zeros in on me

I rub my eyes now that they aren’t stone.

 

Clear insects and clear lives drink darkness

dripping from dark ceiling stones.

 

You don’t know my name. You don’t know

what I sweep across whetstone.