Thursday, May 30, 2013

On a Hot Afternoon in Jerusalem

detail: historic illustration: artist unknown

On a Hot Afternoon in Jerusalem
by Stephen Anderson

The sun-parched face of an old Arab
crowned with a kaffiyeh,
his nicotine-stained fingers clutching
a smoking Galloise,
peers directly at the

Is this a survivor of untold losses,
of so many blood-curdling mourning wails
of Arab women,
this very same man who sips black coffee
sugared to taste from a demitasse,
a sweet companion to his cigarette,
a sure soothing balm for desperate souls
in such toxic, war-torn environments,
here during a sweltering afternoon in the
calmer, narrow lanes of a Jerusalem souk
where Arabic words dance between
walls, then flee, muted, into the open air?

Does he dream too – that Allah
will some day
gunfire forever?

~ previously published in The Silent Tango of Dreams