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Instructional Ghazal

by David Welch

beginning on a line by Misty Harper


1: on lying

You will want to make the corners of the mouth
very dark, so the teeth appear asleep and silent inside the mouth.


2: on breathing

Even coming softly the wind rattles the sills.
The windows whistle a song in parting, like the mouth.


3: on swallowing

Take only the smallest bodies with your tongue: accept
the muscled rules you must maintain inside the mouth.


4: on kissing

I felt your nose like a plum in the dark. Suddenly
I was swimming—unable to breathe or see the mouth.


5: on tying

There are three ways you can teethe and three
knots: the shoelace, the noose, and the mouth.


6: on loving

If his stomach is the surest path to a man’s heart,
you must be sure to take him by the mouth.


7: on closing

In spite of tradition, I’m leaving it open:
[place any name you want in my mouth]

 

David Welch has poems published or forthcoming in Quarterly West, Pleiades, and Helen Burns Poetry Anthology: New Voices from the Academy of American Poets’ University & College Prizes, 1999–2008. He received his MFA from the University of Alabama and currently lives in Chicago. (9/2009)


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