Aromas of Marrakesh
by Rose Mary Boehm

Coffee with milk, croissants. Djelabas.
The old man leering. Boys with shoe-shine boxes.
Miss, Señora, Madame, Mademoiselle, Frau, Fräulein, hier, ici,
buy, buy, buy, achetez. Dark, stark faces, grey beards.
Open hands. Eyes not begging, but demanding
their share of Northern Europe’s riches. ‘You rich.’
‘I your guide, show you.’ Pulls my sleeve. Young boys,
grown like weed at the side of cobble-stoned roads.
They suddenly fold away.

A ‘blue man’ passes.
Tall, loose-limbed, sun-lined,
the desert in his eyes,
indigo veil.

A donkey fills imaginary trottoirs with its load of twigs.
Balaak, balaak! Out of the way! Urine and cardamom,
musk and cinnamon. Sipping tea, sitting on carpets
piled high. One-hundred-and-forty Dirham, Señorita.
'My family, you know, starving.’
A man carries 24 life chickens on a string.

Flew home with a young man
from Barcelona. My tidy office,
my blank computer screen.
The next meeting at ten.


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