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The Godfather's Consorts

Afshan Shafi

This year for The Aleph Review website, Senior Contributing Editor Afshan Shafi has chosen films as her meta-theme. Here, read her brilliant musing on The Godfather Trilogy, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

A still from the set of The Godfather. Copyright: Paramount Pictures

They do not emerge

From fog or the organs

Of big fish

Recondite-souled, they whisper into abscesses,

Their viscera,


Into sheets of polished zinc

Black-suited at dawn,

They lay bushels

Of ivory carnations

At the doors of their bereft

When they depart

They hunch into

A kind of belated curtsy.

The clouds above them,

Empty onto the streets—

Frizz of red-brass, and collar-bones

Encased in tin

At leisure, they fleck

Hoops of ash

Onto the shoulders of their heaving compatriots.

Summer shrouds them in purple lapels—

Setting the clocks to frenzy—

They dispassionately whiten

In rooms where the sunlight

Peters out into

Tongues of old blood

Though there are altars

Engorged on the hearths

Of the cabal’s glassy domiciles,

Their women mostly

Riven to sand

And cracked signets

Each day,

The coercion of time, itself,

Seems negligible

Each day,

The silences

Brood themselves into


Each day, the bald-lights

Of the streets seem to constrict

Further into ominous vapor

Each day,

Wolves round the squat, belching operatives

To roosts that have no name.


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