“Give-and-Take Ghazal” by Denise Duhamel & Julie Marie Wade

Denise Duhamel & Julie Marie Wade


I would like to give more than I take 
in this world of takers. I forgive  
others for being snippy or falling short, 
then blame myself when I mistake  
tolerance for interest. It’s hard to be humored  
and still be gracious. My smile gives 
away my misgivings, yet frowning feels  
like I’m auditioning. Here are the outtakes  
of my outreach: forced laughter and awkward  
nods of the head. Give me a break, give  
me a hug—but don’t: it’s the era of social distance 
and curbside pick-up and take-out. Take 
your time, but don’t leave me waiting too long.
Come on, democracy. Give me liberty, or give 
me a free lunch with sushi rolls, sashimi,
and seaweed salad. Take my advice—take 
a breather (when was your last deep breath?),
then exhale as slow as you can. Give in, give 
out or away but not up. Never up. Enduring is
giving it your all, taking your time to take.

from Rattle #83, Spring 2024
Tribute to Collaboration


Denise Duhamel & Julie Marie Wade: “We have been collaborating on poetry and prose for several years. For this ghazal, we picked an end-word ahead of time (as well as a subject, though sometimes the subjects are open-ended) and then we began, alternating couplets and sending those lines by email to one another.”

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