Boat Under the Orange Tree Poetry of Place

Under the orange trees,
he turned to me and said,
scratch that, all things are beautiful

could he feel
the kitchen table under my elbows,
the taut muscles of my father’s face
tendons like fists, then ropes
the wince, the rocking motion,
what an ugly thing
war is

fingering the dullness.
leaves of an olive tree,
a skirt that swallows dust,
a lime in a girl’s mouth,
skin stinging under fingernails
in the dives of birds over the orchard,
do I not love the world enough?

she is taking a little break from herself now.
her shadow has left the house now,
she cannot
hurt bodies
without it.
standing on a rooftop in Rabat,
she knows her shadow is the fog
fossilizing the city by evening

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Sacred Poetry of Place

I. Indigo

Paint your city indigo
and place it at the heel of the mountains,
at the edge of the rainforest

Name it
for the twin peaks like horns,
or for a saint,
and pave it with cobblestone

Make a quiet
rainfall
and a silky
fog lift
and a sun that will
breakthrough

to reflect
whitewashed indigo
like the freshwater of the lakes in Chiapas

Build a place for prayer
on a hill overlooking the city
a mosque, or a raft
and climb or glide, but do not swim
when you hear the call to prayer —

sometimes a marriage procession,
or the voice of the muezzin,
or a dancing boy and his tambourine

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