Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Lay of Ayishah (7)

"Face 300a" © 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

The sands of the desert are hot underfoot
   when the summer furnace is stoked by the chamsin
Better to stay indoors
Walking shoeless on the sand
   is careless and inadvisable
There is an air of terror in the deserted streets
   reflected in the vacant faces
      as though at any moment
       a scorpion
       a volley of katyushah rockets
       an epidemic
    is liable to burst upon the scene

At these times sunstroke is as endemic as illiteracy
   The brooks dry up
   the bread is baked to chaff
   the wind clatters against the wooden roofs
      like the wing-beats of stalling birds.

We could take a house in Cherith
   an oasis in the middle of the desert
      and drink the spring-water
tapped from the river Jordan

We could start to rebuild our lives -
   out of sandcastles
      if you like

We could submit our love to an autopsy
   and begin again

   I know
      I know
For weeks I have known
That evening that Giova told the story
   of his mother’s exile
      right then I knew
that he was preparing us for this

That evening that you crept off to sleep outdoors
and later I heard his wheelchair on the veranda -

I knew
   I knew

I foresaw every circumstance -
   the twelve stones
    the gash on the glass eye
     the melted rod
      the two measures of seed
       the breaking cloud

I knew
                            I knew

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The Argaman Press

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