down the milk of a calf. Pause to find where hem meets soil
and count backwards. Always backwards.
Is this what Qabbani meant when he spoke of a sunrise to make a heart cave in?
Remind me of this, in a future not too far from now. Okay?
A woman wearing an eclipse across her shoulder.
A black woman in yellow is always an eclipse.
Damascus writes this version of the story, the breath caught
in her throat, and me, cocooned in it.
Before the millennium’s crumple, the slide of asphalt
down September’s shoulder. The day a city lost its front teeth.
Before we mistook the moon’s curve
for a shiver of glass and shrapnel.
Those bric-a-brac apartments; each wall a stretch of moss and spores. A Sudanese baker with a fine flour dust clinging to his life-raft brow,
hands us a bag of dough balls.
A sticky lemonade night, sleeping on the roof,
the way iced tea would tinkle against the throat, have us glowing
like the inside of a stoplight.
Young men in blotted dress shirts, licking ice cream off each other’s noses.
A neighbour ululates, clinking a glass
to the night’s velvet.
In this memory, I am wearing slippers. Flat-footed in the sepia-tones
of a yesteryear I have not yet left behind. Still.
Even our brand of shoes was uncomplicated.