Kasr Avenue was where the birds lived,
In a mud silo millet seeds flourished
All winter long and through the dry season
Laila was in my soul, also Majnoon’s madness.
I was a girl growing up and you, crossing the
Nile—yes a flat boat is all you had—
Came in, trousers wet and flapping,
Sat down with your back to me.
Hunayn ibn Ishaq the great physician
Thought of the heart as the oven of the body.
In the Grand Hotel the waiters wear
Cummerbunds, always maroon, over tunics, white
I asked for a lemonade with crushed ice.
Majnoon lived with his goats in the desert north of here