by Cornelia Rohde
A brazen face shouts, “Five chickens.”
Another raises him to ten.
A third ups the ante with “Six camels;”
zoos of dowry offered
for my auburn haired daughter,
as if I’m leading her as calf to slaughter.
The young hotel clerk melts
when she asks him directions.
(I think he just kissed her room key.)
He seems to have twenty-four hour duty,
or else he’s hanging around for her beauty.
The souk teems with moony young louts,
who offer to show us about, find the best deals,
bring us home to their mother for tea.
We run the gauntlet seeking some refuge.
Will the Blue Mosque be a safe place to flee?
We swirl through the sights like dervishes,
except we’re the major tourist attraction.
I’m so desperate I think I may sell her,
to be done with annoying distractions.
Her flight departs a day before mine.
I wave a cheerful farewell. The staff weeps
by my side, crushed that she’s leaving.
I feel like kicking my heels and leaping,
as I slip back into my invisible skin.