‘What are you doing?’
‘Nothing.’ She yanks down the lid of her laptop, holding on to the thread of her verse, blocking out the voice with her gritted teeth. But it takes the poem with it when it finally goes away. …
A shadow over her shoulder. ‘“Shizenadé knelt down among the pomegranate trees and groaned” Aha!’ She slams down the lid so quickly, for a sickening moment she thinks she’s broken it.
‘Okay, okay!’ The shadow retreats, leeching out the lightening and the glory, and with tears burning in her throat she backspaces the whole suddenly worthless file. …
And then, just then – ‘hey, have you seen the nail-cutter? I can’t find – whoa, easy, I just asked you one question!’
The voices in her head entwine themselves around the gentle rhythm of the ghazal, until her poem enlaces it like a vine. And yet both soar at the same time free, mingling with the sounds of children playing outside, with birdsong and the thrum of cars in the distant road. The door is locked, the softly sputtering fan keeps the room cool, and there is no one to chide the disorder of her dress or correct her posture.
The words come swiftly, almost faster than her ecstatic fingers can churn them out. Later she may shake her head at most of this, roll her eyes … just now, it is perfect. The words come. Life is good.