There is a certain Love that is formed out of the elixir of the east.”
–Rumi

I’ve seen you in souks that spill with people,
on streets that reek of three continents,

found you filling cut-glass crystal with the scent
of nine woods and the rose petals of three cities.

You shone through petrol-smoked markets in pearls
of resin gum, bangles of bridal gold, and thin fingers of saffron;

left muddy footprints of cardamom coffee in demitasse
cups, on the rainy tables of London’s Edgeware Rd.

Behind the glass of TV sets, western tongues have
long worried the meat of you: Palestine; Iraq; black oil.

If I could bargain you back from insurgents and armies,
from the pockets of Royals, Presidents and IS

I’d place you in the hollows of my body: the naked wrists,
the downturned neck; these deserts starve for your rain.