in a waiting room with paintings

Samiah Haque

when you want something soft
look at this pastel drawing:

the artist had smelled soft
a whiff in a busy street and a house
near the mountains with a lake
of shining waters, isn't that soft? and
isn't that inner joy, red of apples and a green?
isn't it a place to dream for? look at the singing
grasses, the quietude of a house in starlight
sound of a bangle against the door jamb, a bird
with large seeing eyes?

in our lands the poppies grow in winter
around us is ice and ice and a sun which
makes it too beautiful for sight and whiter
for the red buds--we don't touch
once there was a wind, and you sought the darkness
of my hair to keep, to keep--in these plains
i want to kiss you, and to kiss into you
truth, something other than an imagined softness.