White cloudless skies of my tamarisk city, music pours cardamom-flavoured
from the narrow, crowded lanes; heavy bolts of water
like silk from the pottery jugs; frankincense
and sugary tea; the oleander drying up, the buildings that blister
in the burning welt of sunlight.
The shadows of the kites
are thin and curved, their weight falls on us like dust
knocked off the sky by the wind; the metal drumskin of midday
vibrates. Houses hold captive shadows, dusk gathers in doorways, and smoke;
rosewater for our hands and feet through seasons of stone.
For years we have washed salt out of the soil, picked
stones out of the salt; for years carried the reeking bundles of scent
through the hot pearl desert, seen the faces of strangers, votives
in masks of copper and bronze rippling like water, the mute weight of their feet
on our streets.
Down in the well the cold seep is glossy as silk on
the desert rock, the slow water stirs the wafers
of reservoir stone in the deep, cold hours.