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Le Petite Alle de la Merde de Chat

Cafe Clock

Little Cat Shit Alley

for Maggie and Riantee

Once I had a dream

and now it’s always beginning
all over again: it is either dawn or dusk; the stairs that lead to the roof terrace, the narrowing alley, the medina pulsing outwards and inwards. In the hazy distance—olive groves and tombs. Dust dust a reddened barrenness from which all living things erode, and once the moon has opened the sky: three women slip inside the breeze and relieve their feet of their shoes, their sweaty socks, their miseries, practicing a habitual sequence of thoughts strung on this necklace of dust.

After music, after the medina, after the legless beggar with his nobility and nonchalance, we slither up the stairs to the terrace, cradling bottles of wine and bowls of fruit under our arms like monkeys. Sit at the table and face each other: a trio, a triangular mirror. Beside us, marmalade the color of dawn and flat breads made from the same wheat as the rooftops of the old city. The watermelon on the plate of blue turns into a blood peach in the mouth and then becomes fragrance. We relive our lives until now, we embellish them with retelling, we sigh and we laugh and we gossip and close our eyes briefly in order to further enjoy this decadence of pleasure in each other’s company.

Below the alley to our lodging outlined in cat shit that caused us to lift our suitcases extra high the first morning and touch our hands to the cool plaster of the alley wall and lean towards our bones.

When I came into the bedroom, she said, you were sleeping on your back and your book was—here—and she made a small arc with her hand.
Within hand’s reach the moon over the caramel rooftops.
At the foot of the mountain a packet of sugar, sweet dusk livened by swallows. Brief pleasure, these lives of ours, the first taste of the evening peach stewed in mint tea.

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