Poetry by Carol Charlat Nace and Rabiul Hasan

His Best Bowtie

Never, never will I see a bowtie Without remembering my exotic dad. Those dapper polka dot ones With warm purples and whites, Every color of the arching rainbow, And every one a story.

I stood in his kitchen in the bald sunlight, That room filled with bright copper molds, The misty light of New York City. His invisible presence so strong After they took his body out I called a friend in Dallas with the aching news. “My God!” came the shocked reply. I choked down his roast beef sandwich In the kitchen studded with postcards one said, “This is your lucky day, Sidney,” Gushed the naked model to the painter, Her copious breasts wrapped around his grizzled head.

I stood by the elevator, Crying so loud the echo caught me unawares. Just the other day His trembling hands shook as he trimmed the threads Of his best bowtie, A solemn gift for mother’s doctor.

When it was all over My sister threw out the old phone books. She tossed the bowties on the bed. The pile so forlorn, A slight mold, slight stains.

One relative asked, “Did he die in his bowtie?”

Now that my art is a paean to him, I’m not afraid to leave his opalescent arms. I welcome the multiplicity of his patterns.

–Carol Charlat Nace

Old Flames

Old flames are always there when you need them. When you need one to talk to; and when you run high fever or have delirium tremens. They live one or two blocks from your house; and you know their telephone numbers by heart. They collect your mail when you are away in the Azores. They are like redwings and albatrosses; they hug and touch you when you are cold and down and redundant. Old flames are always there for you; their flames steady, burning; and flickering not.

–Rabiul Hasan

Carol Charlat Nace lives in Dallas. She has studied poetry at SMU with Jack Myers and at Richland Community College and Brookhaven Community College, where she won first prize for all Dallas junior colleges in the League of Innovation competition (1999).

Rabiul Hasan, originally from Bangladesh, currently lives in Lubbock, where he is a doctoral student in English (American Literature) at Texas Tech University. His work has appeared in more than forty periodicals and anthologies in the United States, Canada, and Malaysia.

–Naomi Shihab Nye