The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Judith Terzi’s “Ghazal for a Chambermaid”

Judith Terzi

Ghazal for a Chambermaid

                            Whatever the outcome of the proceedings against Strauss-Kahn,
                            this high-profile case has brought the subject of sexual assault
                            into the realm of public discussion —Los Angeles Times

Who is the woman confined between two fires?
She’s taboo, an invisible line between two fires.

Refuge or prison? A parable told in discrete spaces.
Top man’s loans once assigned between two fires.

G8 in Deauville, vacant apartment 4G in the Bronx.
Will she accept payment or decline between two fires?

Dazed village, triste cattle and goats in Fouta Djallon.
Griots clutch koras, chant headlines between two fires.

Rain and three rivers carve canyons, valleys in sandstone.
“Rock of Vultures”—Petteh Djiga. Sign between two fires?

The faux prince is grim, grime, bottom of the swamp.
Princess, your Fulani name’s sublime between two fires.


This selection comes from Judith Terzi’s chapbook Ghazal for a Chambermaid, available from Finishing Line Press. Purchase your copy here!

If You Spot Your Brother Floating By is Judith Terzi‘s latest chapbook (Kattywompus). Recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review(International Publication Award, 2015), Caesura, The Centrifugal EyeThe Found Poetry Review, Trivia: Voices of FeminismUnsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series). She holds an M.A. in French Literature and taught high school French for many years as well as English at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and Web.

Noh Anothai was a researcher with the Thailand-United States Education Foundation (Fulbright Thailand) from 2011-12. In that time he translated programs and hosted cultural events for Thailand’s College of Dramatic Arts under the Ministry of Culture. Winner of Lunch Ticket’s inaugural Gabo Prize for Translation and Multilingual Texts in 2014, Anothai’s original poems and translations of Thai poetry have appeared in Ecotone, The Berkeley Poetry Review, and others.  He has contributed to Words Without Borders and Tin House, and serves as a reader for the  international River Styx poetry contest. He teaches for the online MFA program in Creative Writing at Lindenwood University.

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