MILK OF FISH – A Poem by Rafiq Kathwari

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A paradise in pathos

Carping at the stars

 

You carp the darkness—

With your usual flourish

 

Add a pinch of salt

Debone a carp

 

In your carpeted kitchen

At Sufia Nishan

 

On empty wine bottles

The crap of wax.

 

Discourse on the next course

To eat or not the Carp’s head

 

“Gaad kalley, honorific,”

You offer a scrap of history,

 

“Bestowed once by the people

On the Big Carp of Kashmir.”

 

Carpe the head?

Not—

 

In reverence for the dead

Carpenters of Kashmir.

 

For Agha Ashraf Ali

In fond memory of Agha Shahid Ali

February 1949 – December 2001

Rafiq Kathwari, a Kashmiri-American poet, divides his time between New York, Dublin and Kashmir


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