A Requiem for Marrakesh

Karim sits on the edge of the curb

Coughing up the tail end 

Of last winter

Red sand clouds have billowed 

Into the old man’s lungs

and tinted his spit


His back lies against 

the brick storefront

Of an olive vendor. 

The sky tells him that it is 

The curious hour after fajr has ended

And before the sleeping city

Has awoken


The smell of baking bread

Wafts through the narrow ally

Rising to meet the makeshift thatched roof of the souk

Occasionally the morning silence 

Is broken by the sound of a woman

Kneading mnsemn next door

A stray dog quickly scampers past

Side hugging the wall


On this new morning Karim looks

At his weathered hands

His fingernails framed with black dirt

His palms calloused and yellow. 

Each line tells a story of

A bygone time. 

He unfurls his fingers 

and outstretches his palm


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