“Ghazal at the End” by Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor


It’s a hint toward conclusion: All will be okay today.
The newsman assured “at the end of the day.”
Eastern, Greenwich Mean, Lord Howe, AoE
 “Anywhere on Earth”—all depends on the day.
Stopped at a red light, the car behind me didn’t stop
for mine—not how I wanted to spend the day.
Talking hens and bear friends, bedtime stories
we read again and again. “The End” for the day.
Confusing to language learners, this English filler
means “to sum up.” “Just a cliché,” we lesson the day.
Sumerians, the first to write, keep time, farm, brew,
built six miles of wall to defend their day.
Season of take-out, stay-in, mask-on, video-off, 
an effort to get ourselves dressed even on a Wednesday.
At the den of decay, the zen of dismay, there’s a chicken buffet
for the men of Bombay. Nonsense, Melisa, is the trend of the day.

from Rattle #84, Summer 2024
Tribute to the Ghazal


Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor: “I am tethered to podcasts and news these days and I keep hearing ‘at the end of the day’ as a way to sum everything that’s been said up, as if there could be any end to the nonsense and terror. I took this idiomatic expression and used the ghazal form to twist and turn it. How does the day end, where, and for whom? As a professor of TESOL and world language education, the ghazal helped me explore the meaning that’s lost by cliché, as well as what might be newly found.” (web)

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