Perhaps you will come to my house soon
when the conservatory is ready and we will talk more…
He smiles, and I imagine the smell of cardamom
and mace, pomegranate juice served in tiny gilt glasses
and lots of rugs, the kind that make me dizzy,
as though the Iraqi light were knotted into the pile
and lying in wait within each cochineal cartouche,
each intricate hallucinogen; my eyes are easy prey.
…and perhaps you will bring your violin
if it is not exasperating of me to ask, and play for us?
In that instant I know I’ll go to this man’s home
and play Bach’s D minor Sarabande.
He will the value what I offer, while I contrive
a patchwork notion of what he’s forfeited—
midnight recitations among friends on a rooftop;
citrus fruits blood-warm on the tree, in the palm.
Such things I imagine in miniature, from miniatures
flattened of all depth, registered in the single point perspective
of my curiosity, my lens. Graciously he’ll overlook
my ignorance, offer mint tea, sticky dates, green sultanas
and with the composure of someone who’s lived through
suffering such as I know nothing of, he’ll ask
Could Baroque ornamentation be thought to verge
on what is called ‘the arabesque’?