My own attempt at a ghazal. I hadn't researched it quite thoroughly enough, so I suspect this is actually rather stricter than it needs to be. The person who set the challenge to write a ghazal insisted that it include the theme of unrequited love, hence the title.
when I say unrequited I mean I love an empty wound
by the kitchen window a butterfly folds back into itself, a retreat
back into the hollow of the dry cocoon
, a barren
but easy retreat.
last summer a calf
fed too long and hard at its mother’s teat
and later we tracked the blood into the carpet
in our hurried retreat.
in the mirror I examine the spreading curves of my newborn crow’s feet
the creams and special soaps do nothing to aid their retreat.
there are orchids
on the bureau: plastic flowers
don’t smell so sweet,
but they are all that’s left after summer’s retreat.
for supper I clink the pots and pans
: I have forgotten to buy meat
he compares the table to my belly, hungry and bare
. I sound the retreat.
on the patio there are sultry
remains of the nights when we drink whisky neat
and I roll it in my mouth, loathe to swallow it down and feel hope retreat
when I wake into the embrace of a tightly coiled early morning
, I cheat
sleep and dig my hands into my womb
, or rather the gash
of a barren retreat.