Susie Gharib – Four Poems

By My Side

His words flicker in the dark.
I half-see the purport of their sparks,
so I hold his hand
since all I need to know is embedded in his palm.

His fingers grow calm.
I pour his lifelines into my spine,
then raise my arm
to derail a fallen ear
and prevent it from salinating his mouth
that always feels parched.

I hear his pulse
as it waxes and wanes in my heart,
a rippling chart
of a tenacious resolve to cling to life
by my side.


I’ve always wondered about the might of little things,
a mosquito whizzing its evening hours across my face,
seeking a landing despite my frantic hand’s desperate defense,
depriving me if not of blood, of a precious night sleep,
inducing a non-psychological type of insomnia
that I have termed mosquito-supremacy.

Mel Gibson once starred in Conspiracy Theory.
I could not then understand the efficacy
of extracting confessions by tampering with teeth
until I became in the grip of a tooth-ache,
a maddening trauma that amounts to lunacy
with Zeus hurling from the depth of a tooth cavity
thunderbolts at my head and my feet.

A water tap that needs a plumber’s expertise
with its drip-drop soundtrack befitting a horror screen
can drill a hole in the eroding armor of psychic ease,
irritating nerves beyond chemicals’ capacity.


The wreckage of my smile is washed ashore
and flotsam of tender feelings
along your coast is strewn,
all dashed against your thorns of stone.

In remonstrance, a mumble in vain is voiced.
My smile-lit lips are now limpid with scorn,
rendered incapable of a single groan.

The ice in your eyes is arching in a form,
a pinnacle of callousness
to obscure any warmth,
emanating from the hearth of your soul.

Without His Paws

He lies depleted on our marble but chipped floor.
Our apartment needs numerous repairs that we can’t afford.
His loss of hair is competing with peeling walls.
The three of us are getting old.

My retirement is round the corner
with a pension that appalls.
How am I to feed my shepherd dog
with a frugal mode?
I view the sea before me
tranquil and composed.
Even this room, I can’t call my own.

He’s become so attached to me
this fourteen-year-old.
We’ve grown so telepathic
I obey his calls
without a bark or a tail-wag to inform.

Will we be together when we depart from this benighted world?
Would he be keeping his canine form?
I hate to think of the afterlife without his paws.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

When I was young, I never found any man handsome. It took me years to perceive that attraction for me was a matter of personality, so beauty has never been merely a visual thing. It is the inner flame within, a rapport between me and my surroundings, a mellifluous word or whisper that regales my ears, a tactile thrill, a scent that lingers in my nostrils, the taste of success after so many disappointments, an equilibrium of wills.


Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Mad Swirl, A New Ulster, Adelaide Literary Magazine, the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and The Ink Pantry.