Long Distance with Camel

After the sweet trifles of epistolary salaamat,
the verbal décolletage, the petal blizzard,
and smoke signals of smoldering frankincense
comes the long afternoon wobble
of one awaiting a reply. Sound travels farthest
along low frequencies, so say the elephants,
while, half a world away, the beloved yawns.
His shade is drawn.

Poor spent corsage of courage
and the crushed tissue of I miss you,
and the send-and-receive-all chronicle
of thought. No spark. No sputter.
No zephyr. No pulse. Dust settles implacably
atop the buttoned lip of the lap-top.

Collapse of Camelot? After moonrise, wife wonders,
tapping her thermometer.  Ear to the ground
for the next low murmur, she hears what?
Dahlias hissing at the stars? A fingertip tracing
the wine glass rim of a clavicle? The amplified throb
of Bedouins bedding? Hey, who’s breathless by lamplight?

Whirling dervish whips up a sirocco
as sandstorms sting kohl-painted eyes –
anguish is aerobic, see? Like exercise.
En garde!  She parries the hours,
twirling the tangled filigree of promises
around her finger. Tired of the swashbuckle,
and furtive in an abaya’s black abyss,
she fetches her fletches, smoothes her skirt,
sips a bromide, nibbles on a scone.

Meanwhile, morning lights the desert.
Sultan straightens his kaffiyeh,
mounts his camel once again,
waving cheerily toward home.

About the author

Carol Light has sliced and transected the U.S. in station wagons, from Texas to North Dakota, from Tampa to Seattle, and from Port Townsend…

Read the full bio

Issue 15 · June 2012

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