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from the May 2015 issue

Life in Mount Carmel

Though I’m right beside it,
I can’t call out to the sea:
neighbor, come join me for coffee.
Instead, my other neighbor Carmel
visits me through the window
without my permission
and never even once 
tries to enter through the door
(anyway, it owns the place).

Sometimes church bells reach me
from the depths of Wadi Nisnas,
other times the morning call to prayer
comes quietly from the Istiqlal Mosque
(that the old breeze carries from Wadi Salib),
the Baha’is keep donating,
and filling the city with Persian gardens
that escaped from Shiraz,
and in Kababir,
the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
maintain their naps of devotion
and hunt the truth in tales,
as for the holy men among the Druze,
their poems reach me from their temple
at the foot of Mount Hermon
like the white headscarves of their women—
the ones that hide a thousand years of darkness.

And I, aimless,
between the mountain and the sea,
I, who follow no one but myself,
what should I do among all these devotees,
where time has found its end?  

Read more from the May 2015 issue
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