his friend, but not quite

along with the tobacco and lighter flint

embracing in public

 

like a snoring guard dog

not juice, tea, coffee

heavy coats

lie in the sun all day

the secret work

brown, green and silver all at once

knowing, ironic

dozing like father

so few non-Arabs speak Arabic

only when it was too late

 

the gardener in blue overalls

a native of Alexandria

an ally, an equal

 

to the left

never uttered plans

was meant for two

seven languages

lips on the loaded fork

 

‘where is the Pasha’

the square sail of skin

 

raincoat hanging behind the door

a floating tree embossed

the Cairo day

horror and delight

weak sepia

anywhere but here

in her broken Arabic

musky warm skin

 

the same raincoat

to kill the shiver

across the road

a deer sees its hunter

wary, ready