Fés, Summer, 2007 (A Poem in Prose)

Fés, Summer, 2007

From the bruised-sky countenance of an English summer (three hot days and a thunderstorm) we fly south; we are young.

At Bab Boujaloud, the blue-green gate, we look up, eyes hot, sweating diamonds onto a street paved with dust. Hey, Bob Dylan! Ali Baba! Nice girl! (I like being your nice girl, while you, today, are all shaggy brown hair, beard, sunglasses).

I like it when you speak French, when you say shokran, when you sit for hours, beneath a lamp, sketching its lace form, each precise indent, measuring with your eyes. You are intimate with it; I want to ask how these things are done, but the silence is all that keeps us cool.

Kif? We watch the owner of the café, carefully rolling, with stained and heavy hands, a joint. Kif? He says. Then I lose track; we swim home through Fauvist paint (even you look made of blue and green now). We follow sex with a nap, wake with eyes ringed red to dancing music. Listen to that, you say. (Perfect bliss).

In sudden palaces, children play, women scrub the smell of decay, the rot of orange blossoms from the floor. The tiles arranged with surgical symmetry (mathematics by color). We spend our days walking imperfect circles around the riads, the minarets, the medersas. We spend our nights too hot to touch.

Mornings made of honey and a single cube of sugar dissolved in the ocean of your coffee. I prefer mint, hot, sweet, so you teach me to tie a paper napkin round the glass because it was something you learned, once. I read the guidebook to you: It seems to exist suspended in time.

Even the shadows are still.