In the City of Eve
As a girl I followed my father to our rooftop,
up the narrow stairs, close to his white hem & dark slippers.
The iron steps rang with the striking of our feet.
He carried a telescope, the sky was clear, the moon
in eclipse. The shadow did not bloody
the surface, it smoked across the lunar terrain.
We often stood on the rooftop when the house
was newly built, saw dogs running in the distance
across the packed sand. I asked if they’d be safe;
he said they would look after each other. In
the time since, a thicket of jasmine formed along
the border of our marble yard & the air smelled sweet.
I learned that the names of stars are in Arabic,
constant and loyal, like dogs:
Algol, Arrakis, Deneb, Rigel, Vega.
The skies turn sometimes. On a rooftop,
when sand is loosened from the desert,
it approaches like a red tide & cities drown.
In my time, the deployment of armies would disturb
the deep desert. My father took me to a dirt lot
near the execution square, put me on his shoulders,
and pointed to the ruins there. Do you see the grave of Eve?
The city turned. I have forgotten what I saw in the sand.
by Majda Gama
from Poetry Magazine, July/August 2022