by Susie Gharib (January 2023)
Red Gloves, Florence Metgé, 2020
The battery is low, groans my mobile
which is fifteen years old,
and so sluggish in these freezing conditions is my blood flow.
I stare at the fireplace, which has been dormant since my childhood,
and meditate on some semblance of warmth.
Perhaps I should wear an extra coat, I moan.
The war planes that have polluted the skies
and the lungs of birds,
how much fuel do they consume?
I bet it can keep every hearth on this damned planet aglow!
I try to twiddle my toes.
My socks feel like two sheets of snow.
Perhaps I should wear my boots at home,
despite the invisible holes in their soles, I resolve.
I lie in bed and reminisce over a pair of gloves
my mother knitted for me half a century ago.
I remember how many times she made me try them on.
I wore them all the time,
which won me the epithet ‘the gloved boy’.
My fingers refused to grow
for fear of parting with their orange wool.
I begin to doze.
I play fetch with my enemies,
for I have learned to treat them like unfriendly pets.
I throw them a tale on which to chew
to distract them from the untarnished truth.
And I have a pair of gloves
that have the semblance of a pair of hands
at which they can bite
and dribble their bile
When they growl
in the middle of the night,
insomniac as they are
I sing them a lullaby,
whose refrain is love thy enemy.
The hands that had cherished verdure
would play its songs on a kaleidoscope
of daffodils, bluebells, and sunflowers
weeding affliction as a matter of course.
The trees they clip and trim will arch
above the trifles of vociferous crowds,
creating a canopy that shades each hour
from poisonous lips and slanderous tongues.
Each bush they prune will sing and clamor
for the fingers that caress a willow’s hair.
Right here there’s no need to abrade the cowards
whose weeds will fail to strangle buds.
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