Al Khatoon by Tracy Patrick

By Tracy Patrick

This is your land.

You survived graceless tides

of invasions and retreats;

tin-can bazaars where old men mutter your history;

the stadium filled with toothless mouths.

They shine torches into your irises,

search for half-truths;

clicking their throats and guns;

so afraid you might speak,

your tongue loosening its chain of memories;

open palms revealing the seeds of your thoughts:

golden fields, scented shaftal,

mulberries, and the wind

whistling its music through your bones.

This is your land:

rose pink thighs of mountains,

warm narrow valleys that, each night,

draw down a thousand molten suns.

Here you bleed

your dark rays into the rivers, singing

the song the world forgot,

your voice smooth and round as an egg,

big enough to birth continents.

Yet they would rather you dumb,

draped in shapeless cloth, bent double

with the weight of your children.

Easier to believe you are an apparition:

Al Khatoon – all backward feet

and dank suffocating breath;

enchantress of men,

deliberate and impossible, whose beauty

must be confined

to that small dark cave,

that narrow opening where all life begins.

But look –

the turquoise lakes are full of stars;

braceleting the mirrored domes,

shining on each mosaiced path

like a thousand brilliant teeth –

Al Khatoon is smiling:

This is your land.

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