Courtyard Fountain

By Brandon Marlon

As sand drifts into dunes,
we wend along the tortuous
course in lockstep with the daystar,
our gullets torrid, our grume curdling,
hinting at careless scrapes,
announcing our bone-weariness
to the wheeling birds of prey
we pretend not to notice
while we push-push-push onward,
ovened by the overhead orb,
remorseless and deaf to appeal.

Ghoul-like, we lurch bedraggled
into a spavined maidan,
greeted by pitiless glares,
surrounded by the self-absorbed
bustle of canopied hawkers and mongers
garbed in turban, tarboosh, and burnoose,
wheedling and wangling in fulfillment
of their richly deserved reputations.

In the umbra ahead a pensive caid
pores over a fatwa from Al-Azhar;
beside us mules moisten in slough
and creeping crocodiles vie for gristle
to satisfy the capacity of their maws.

From a distance a stocky innkeeper
beckons us into his midst,
cogently gesturing toward
ablutions and libations,
to the inviting environs of a spouting pool,
for sore eyes and sapped limbs
the finest offer this side of heaven.

* * *
Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. (Hon.) in Drama and English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry has been published variously in Canada, the U.S., England, Greece, Romania, Israel, and India.

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