I turn to face the book of my past
To rustle through pages made of concrete
And sealed smooth with whitewash
To walk into the shade of a pointed Muslim arch

The shade where a stray cat sits, combing
The fur on her tail with her tongue
Forgetting her ancestors who caught mice
From between pirate feet

I remember hot sand under my feet
The sea humming loud and soft as
I lowered my head into a hole I had dug
Then brought it back up again, listening

Listening to the sheep baaing
In the dark city night
Not pretending I lived in the country
But content in my flat roofed home

I remember those days in sun on the roof
The crisp flapping of sheets hung to dry
My little hands lowering baskets
On ropes to the balcony below

Ropes holding cloth for shade above
Cool cobbled narrow streets of the medina
Full of shouts and laughter
And haunting Arab music

Feeling the music of my mother’s heart
Beating a regular rhythm
As I lean against her and try to see angels
Watching from beneath the church arches

A crowd of mopeds beneath the palm trees
Slow traffic on a wide polished street
Horns honking as every light turns green
Soldiers pointing from the back of a pickup

I pick up the book of my past
A book of a city with beggars leaning
In the streets and child’s laughter
Ringing from the mouth of a smaller me

The End

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