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Umit Singh Dhuga: Three poems

Letter from Saturn

The satellites of Saturn have so far been named for the Greco-Roman Titans, descendants of the Titans, Giants, etc. In order to internationalize the names, we now also allow names of giants and monsters in other mythologies (so far Gallic, Inuit, and Norse).
—NASA, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature 

When you name new moons—and when I say new,
I mean strictly that you never knew
we’ve been here quite some time, quite content,
especially the whist wee ones I swaddle
safe from your instantiations in my cowl—
when you name us after your mythic giants,
do you pause to think how that might make me feel?

Perhaps it flats your boat and odds your keel
to make a dim shot at atonement
for those whom you have hurt on your own star
by giving us names of giants from peoples
you’ve already shelved as eponymous
to yourselves? This makes you feel better
about yourselves? Please leave us anonymous.


	i.m. Kenneth Kidd (1961–2019)

We were huddled by the Campbell House bar
on the penultimate Monday of July
downing pint after pint of tepid water.
My first reading sober, your last one alive.
There’s a video of that sonnet sequence,
and in the corner, to my right, you wince
when I say that Schumann’s Märchenbilder
was composed for viola, not violin.
When I look over my shoulder
when I watch that video now, there’s no one

there. If you were here, if you read this, you’d wince—
I can see your pas devant expression,
can hear your chortled Well! preface your lesson—
and teach me how not to speak of your absence.


Our last exchange of which I have record
is a mundane text message that I sent
to you two months before you died. You didn’t
reply to that text message, so the last words

are, bizarrely, mine. When I open
up that message thread on my mobile phone—
yes, I admit it: to revise this poem—
I can glean the fact that Tottenham were down

to nine men. Bottling it again! as you’d
like to say. My lazy orthography—

u left ur fedora at the dizzy

—verbatim. I’m not sure whether it’s good
for me to read that now when I’m off to bed.
Ken, you left your fedora at The Dizzy.

Copyright 2022. From Wince by Umit Singh Dhuga published by Ragged Sky Press. Copyright 2022.

Umit Singh Dhuga is a classicist working at the intersections of contemporary ethics and Ancient Greek and Roman thought. His books include Choral Identity and the Chorus of Elders in Greek Tragedy (Harvard University Press, 2011).

Saturn has a total of 82 confirmed moons, surpassing even Jupiter, which has 79. There could be even more hidden moons that orbit around Saturn. (source: Nine Planets)

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