Hala Alyan: Aubade

Dancing until the sky darted with gold, eardrums pulse
echoes. Even the muezzin is muted, underwater humming
as men carry fires for prickly pears and drum each engine
into a snare bass. Up ahead the buildings spire into their ugly
gray, drops of water startle from the cloudless sky—
laundry dribbling from clothespins, or condensation from
whirring air conditioners, jutting like jaws outside
the windows. A shopkeeper calls out manousheh manousheh
and the bread appears like trickery, steaming between teeth.
Already the casino seems distant, a faint vision of music snaking
the frantic sweating bodies. No viola skittering the parking lot,
only the streets whiffed with jasmine and diesel, the creaking
of chains wound and lifted for window displays of lamb flank,
turquoise necklace, an armless mannequin. Only the road
turning, softly, the mound of earth that gives and slopes
to the clearing of red flowers, the gnats and oh the water.



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