Copper is hammered while cobras
relax under pots. Coffee is bad
on the terrace overlooking
the esplanade while a child steals
the best croissant.
A walk, then, into the souk,
where itís true, what they say:
silver teapots, baby birds, yellow perfume.
So what was the problem—
pigeons in the pastry,
or just too much
cinnamon and brains
served by hands so slightly
singed, as is everything that passes
through the dusk, at times a flame?
But no answer:
though saffron is still
pressed into palms
and everyone loves
one last bargain, more treasure, the best
of both worlds (travel and leisure) until all new things
in the suitcase come home stained and not only dresses
turn out to be cheap, dyed threads
entangling pleasure. The spice bottle, hand-labeled
as if that mattered, sits on display in the cabinet, still full
of strange flavor: an oasis.