The tropic night was hushed with a darkness softer than rose petals,
gentler than a monkey’s paw or the down of a goose,
the sky was a luminous cobalt, it’s stars like icons gleaming,
tents clustered close together, fighting off the spaces of the night
that would soon foregather, bringing a dark beyond dark
save only for a crescent moon high riding, giving no light.
The sand crunched crystalline and sparkling beneath my feet
in the gleam of the lamps and the fires glowing in the awnings
as I ran looking for you beyond the tents of the wise and old,
questioning the sages and soothsayers, they had no word of you,
In strange and arcane places I hoped to hear your name.

At last I slept, waking to an orange sun flaming the sky,
warm scents of cinnamon and galangal stole my senses,
someone placed jasmine in my hands, I was lost beneath
harsh citrus perfume from the lemon trees laden with fruit.
I went to seek you in the labyrinth of souks and markets,
sometimes in an alley I’d see you vanish behind a golden curtain,
or your face would fade behind an amorphous cloud of incense.
The vendor’s clamour, the hands thrust at me with jewels or spices,
the soaking heat and noise shook my resolve. I half remembered
where I had come from, a Victorian house, wide lawns, a rose garden
with scents of lavender and bergamot, and cooling, shading trees
and memories of an old love lost, which is why I seek you here.

I wake as if from a long dream, why did I think it would be other
if only I could find you. Hot climate, cold climate, nothing
would be different. I packed my baggage and returned home.


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