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from the July 2006 issue

Sabratha Fleeing

Here you are now sitting in a cafe in Sabratha,
five openings in the iron fence,
five openings exactly.
You look at the right side of the Roman Theatre,
you drink your bitter coffee,
on the tip of your cup lie words and reminiscences.
Your friend says,
"Who knows? Maybe the driver has a limp.
What's wrong with that?"
Close to the mirror
Diana Haddad's picture looks tired;
the tea thermos obscures her left breast.
So what, the tea has to stay hot.
Count Basie plays the one o'clock chime.
The bass line prepares the square for a bounce.
Dim Bum Di-bum Bum while the trumpet screams a hoarse note.
The garden shade should not be awakened,
it should only bend.
A curtain is lowered, a candle put out,
and two blazing bodies embrace.

The boy is marvelous as he should be.
He saw nothing except tiny longings,
like a nun's, sneak out to the street.
Maybe this tortured body will calm at last.
Maybe these imaginations will dive deep to where there is no censor.
Maybe these cities that fled will never return.
Maybe the morning will arrive without dark rings around its eyes.

The Tunisian waiter shakes his head.
Radis is too far away now.
It was not like that before.
Dancing and debauchery.
Two macchiato,
one cappuccino.
Who ordered the sandwiches?
Live, my brother.
Radis was never that close.

Here you are now reading your fortune on an old stone.
The deviations of an old body surrender
to the low flow of the bass line.
The one o'clock chime comes to an end.


Read more from the July 2006 issue
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