Reality

They placed the palaquins
    on the finest workhorse camel mares,
    and within their embroidered canopies
    full moons and marbled statuettes.

They promised my heart
they’d return
but what are the promises of a soft girl
but illusions.

    They beckoned goodbye,
    fingertips dyed with henna,
    set tears scattering
    and stoked the fire.

They turned
back toward Yemen,
seeking Khawarnaq
  then Sadir,

    Damn it! I called
    as they left.
    They answered:
    If you want to cry damn it,

Why settle for
a single, lonely damn?
Damn it, damn it,
  Damn it all over!    

    Easy now,
    dove of the thorn berry thicket,
    her leaving
    has sharpened your cry.

Your coo, dove,
stirs the lover
and inflames
    the already burning,
    Melts the heart,
    compounds our longing
    and our sigh

Death hovers
over a dove that coos.
We beg of him
    a stay.

    Maybe a breath
    from the East wind
    from Hajir
    will bring us clouds of rain.

You who pasture the stars
be my drinking companion!
and you, awake-all-night lightning watcher,
    my night friend!

   And you who’d rather
    sleep the night away
    before you die
    you live entombed

If you’d only loved
a brave souled beauty
you’d have found in her what you desired
    and been satisfied.
    You’d be sharing with the belles
    intimate drink,
    speaking secrets to the sun, and to the moon
    whispering nothing