Wednesday Poem: “Give-and-Take Ghazal”

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I would like to give more than I take
in this world of takers. I forgive

others for being snippy or falling short,
then blame myself when I mistake

tolerance for interest. It’s hard to be humored
and still be gracious. My smile gives

away my misgivings, yet frowning feels
like I’m auditioning. Here are the outtakes

of my outreach: forced laughter and awkward
nods of the head. Give me a break, give

me a hug—but don’t: it’s the era of social distance
and curbside pick-up and take-out. Take

your time, but don’t leave me waiting too long.
Come on, democracy. Give me liberty, or give

me a free lunch with sushi rolls, sashimi,
and seaweed salad. Take my advice—take

a breather (when was your last deep breath?),
then exhale as slow as you can. Give in, give

out or away but not up. Never up. Enduring is
giving it your all, taking your time to take.

–by Denise Duhamel & Julie Marie Wade
from Rattle #83, Spring 2024

Denise Duhamel & Julie Marie Wade: “We have been collaborating on poetry and prose for several years. For this ghazal, we picked an end-word ahead of time (as well as a subject, though sometimes the subjects are open-ended) and then we began, alternating couplets and sending those lines by email to one another.”