In Rue Port Said
‘A rose-red city half as old as Time’
– John William Burgon (‘Petra’)
Glancing out the taxi window
I catch the evening flush of rose
transforming block after dull block
as if for now this is Petra,
and you watch it with eyes made pure.
This charge of seeing carries joy.
There will be such moments always,
like new journeys plucked from the past.
Coming back to Alexandria
after each long leave: heat and clamour,
loose piastres sweating to my palm ‒
I laid my own claim then on these streets.
Even at the end it’ll be like this,
though the startled retrieval, its love,
might seem like handling an old trophy
whose pattern narrates a puzzling bliss.
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