a long year

(running ghazals)

Gazelles running in Serengeti

read a summary of the project in progress

what’s a ghazal? By John Thompson, from Stilt Jack

A selection of Karl Meade ghazals published in literary magazines in Canada and the US:

Tree Fall


The steps you once made, I once loved:

renaissance arch, two-tiered cupola, your neck’s delft


perfection. My heart is full of acts

I cannot speak the name of. Confession,


fretwork, your drawer of broken watches. I study those hands,

dream silversmith guilds, clay-layered fossil: is this what love is?


We prayed for the sea, you gave us

the water’s weight, here


behind half-shut doors I watch half-sunk

ships sail goods up streets alive with


one scale, two swords, crossed: is that you cradling wisdom in your lap?

Death is no accident, you said: time, water, the walls,


trees I have missed:

this is where we’ll meet.


(published in Event magazine)

Down Fall


What is left of me: stubble, pain, and this staged

indifference. The game is up, you said. Up.


Humiliation, humility, all this

and the hills. Show me where to dig, where began my swift


descent. What I dared dream? What I am:

pyrhite imposter.


I want your heart, your hand. I never learned

who created who here. Why give me such


rage? Such love and four girls

suffering, I dig up


your nature, your half-healed carcass, your glorious shit, all this

you left to me


(published in Event magazine)

Group of red Impala

Stone Winter


Now it is just you and me: blood on a midnight table.

My cup, your hands. I can’t escape your


even listening: yes, the morning cries, but then what?

I ask you: are there hills ahead


or just more strummed lines of guitar,

psalms of night wilderness, flashing past?


This is winter: stone, pockets, my breath on your hands.

You can’t take it with you, you said. Time is just


silence, flashing past. I wake old and emptied

of the stones you took, with you, the weight


is what I want: your damn near

impossible memory.


(published in the Literary Review of Canada)

Spring Bone


Evens and odds: chance laughter in the street.

I watch you growing, hopscotch and bone, such hope


my mouth circles the song you can’t stop: oh

the sudden, breakable you. Who said we were all


odds and ends? This is where it starts. Four,

always this damned four: season, limb, wall.


I remember, even at five

that first tear in my misaligned


cartilage. Let’s circle, you say. I can deal

with wagons, the past, rising, tensely: chance it


even with your laughter

the oh I dare not fathom.


(published in Chronogram magazine)

Spring Tide


Your young volcanic mouth: river, milk, honey.

This heat wave, consumed and consuming


your first knot: a heart unraveling, bravely

into the ocean. You spawn stones of geodetic lust, bright and brief,


your great adventures: swing, teeter, slide.

They said it was no small hole


in your heart stopped mightily that day

the dim voice entered.


Spitback of ash.

The high bar you fell from, back up again:


you are the love wave, breaking

through seaweed and bivalves, the golden seismic


tremors we devour.

Sleep, my love, sleep.


(published in CV2 magazine)

Masai Mara Grant's Gazelle