In these narrow, bent alleys
made more narrow by tapestries
and other sundry fabrics rippling
and drying, the smell of urine-cured
leathers permeates. It is not a stench.
It is the red sandstone and pure
geometries itself. It is the eyesockets
of cut windows; a coated, parched
tongue in the morning. While elsewhere
they crack shells for pearls and
harvest truffles nose-deep in the earth,
here, we wait for the waters to dry.
We want the salt. We want the waters.
We can’t have it both ways. We wait–
permeated and parched.
[Published in di- verse- city (2001).]
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