You bring me figs and dates
from Morocco, a chunk
of amber to rub on my skin,
sandalwood from the Sudan
where its scent
is synonymous with sex.
I wash my hair in it
as it rises to the heavens.

Egypt is a woman,
and she’s the one you love,
though she always walks away
from you, hiding her face
in her scarf, though she
gave you the edge you’re afraid
to fall off, and the brother still
burning in your mind.

In a silver pot you steep leaves
of Luisa and mint you regret
is not fresh, pour it
into painted cups and tell
me of the children of the desert,
whose skin is the color of mine,
of ones who call themselves
the people of the wind.

We speak of our countries
and the fields of food
mine takes from yours,
of troops that thicken
like swarms of locusts,
and you pour more tea,
shift the coals in the shisha,
sing in a language I don’t know.