Monday, April 21, 2014

The “I” of Morocco

Roofline of the Fez Medina, Morocco

For Ali, who explained my name to me

In Arabic, my name means I.
Ana this, ana that.
I am called everywhere,
but I am not meant.

So I surrender to the collective self—

I in the souk selling oranges
                  with their leaves on.
I in the café filled with men
                  wondering at a woman.
I in the tannery lifting skins
                  through vats of urine.
I in the child kicking a faded ball
                  down a Medina street.
I in the man pointing to a pastry
                  with a bee stuck in sugar.
I in the petit-taxi holding out
                  a creased hand for coins.
I in the woman rubbing cheese
                  onto squares of fry bread.
I in the singers with blank faces
                  on the brink of desert.
I in the shepherd telling the sheep
                  his dreams.

Now, the world turns ana—

I am the river running beneath
the ancient city
over mountains,
to the sands.

I am dunes, pink in evening.
I am the sky above them as night falls.

The sky—wider than lives,
spacious enough to hold every hand
and turn each finger to a star
that points all I’s home.