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Barbara MacKay


       The skin dissolves in dew without your touch
         ―Agha Shahid Ali

How does a tulip or a rose feel when it opens its petals to the sun?
How is it that I can no longer open mine to you my universe, to the sun?

I wintered under an overcast sky for months extending into a year.
When the weather cleared, darkness had vanquished the sun.

Why was all taken from me, all the light, all the fire I thought lasting.
Night is my domicile: my phantom self yearns for the eternal sun.

You were taken so swiftly, so undeservedly, my prayers, my entreaties unheard.
For who was there to hear in that vault we call heaven, an absent god, an absent sun .

Oh, Barbara supplicate again: give me back a measure; if not my beloved,
give me back belief, animate my being, grace my eyes with the sun.


Night Ghazal

published Lynx, XX:2 June 2005

Come take my hand and we will walk the elbow of night;
I will lead you beyond blackness into the glow of night.

In the northwest a glacier walks forward on the land.
White and blue icebergs glitter as the sun nips the toe of night.

In my framed mirror I watch myself dance the fandango.
I am naked and wanton protected by the soul of night.

How is that I have come to love what I once feared,
Ghosts and monsters and creatures abroad in the shadows of night.

Once I had a great love who walked across the sky
By day, now he lives in the hollow of night.

Crows wing in and perch on the limbs of a tree
This writer pens her blackness just before dawn swallows the dead of night.


I live in Little River, Ca where I am a member of a writing group and a member of the Mendocino Writers Club, a charter of the California Writers Club. My poems have been published in several literary journals and various haiku and tanka journals.

About Barbara MacKay

Barbara MacKay lives in Little River, Ca. Her work has been published in various literary journals including Thema, Bryant Literary Journal, Mariposa Haiku Journal, Woodpecker Haiku Journal, American Tanka, and most recently The Ghazal Page. She earned an MA in English Literature at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.