Amid clumps of fagonia and yarrow,
palms stretch and open against blue,
blue April skies. Fronds ruffle,
casting intricate shadows, like lace
upon a sill. Shamaals bend sturdy
trunks, rough with frond-stumps,
severed as they grow. Next fall’s
dates are sprays of pale green
beads springing from the heart.
Before harvest, sun will beat
and scorch through long days of summer,
birds will take their pick, winds
will toss fruit with sand and stars
until, finally, old men hitch
themselves to the tops,
rumps slung on hemp,
to toss the survivors down,
and the hum of black bees will follow
the sweet, sweet flesh to our tongues.

(Shamaals are the fierce winds from
the north that blow across the Arabian
Peninsula between February and late April.)

  © 2004