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Meeting Places: Part II


Camels

slide across the meridian of my beer,
pointing from hotel garden to sunset
into the silhouette of a super stack,
the aluminum company’s fire
peppering the desert wind.

They always appear that way,
camels in the corners of eyes,
brown déjà vu across brown lands,
they move about with such freedom
it’s hard to believe they exist at all.

At first.

To the gulf, a generation from nomad,
they are the ships of the desert,
but after six months and a thousand miles
they are the dune cows, lumbering,
heedless of traffic, big enough to crush

a compact car. They wander, derelict
in the nameless spaces, weaving
across invisible borders, between Oman
and Saudi Arabia there are no lines
in the sand. The herds roam
from nowhere to nowhere else.

I pass them, careening down highways
so straight a drunk could sleep a hundred miles
colliding only with dreams; still dangerous
in the endless empty quarter, the burn
between Muscat and Salalah offers little.
There are no rest stops, no comfort food
with souvenir shops to break the sand spell.

Dim stars grow like cancer cells
in the perfect black that collapses
over the rental car. The white sedan
inches forward, steady and soundless
as a mime’s gloved hand
reaching toward the dark glass.


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