Arriving Tangier

Our poem of the week is a preview of the Summer issue of 3rd Wednesday. Our featured poet, Lauren Tivey, sent a courageous group of poems, all set in Morocco. They begin with –

Arriving Tangier

The one-legged man is begging in the road.
Nearby, a boy is punching his horse
in the snout, dutifully, with neither wrath
nor glee. And the insane woman,

with her feet wrapped in bandages,
skin lesions oozing, is swathed
in a blood-red Moroccan flag
which barely covers her behind,

is muttering, is following us
down a dark street, is a nightmare,
a Burroughsian ghost, and we almost
run. Turning the corner, a street thief—

chased, caught, beaten with a shovel.
We are far from home, and we watch,
silent and grim: it is Ramadan and everyone
is angry. For comfort or for sport, we argue

as the night winds roll in, courtesy of the Strait,
scattering rats, lifting a sinister shroud off the city.
Gaunt strays whine among the garbage, while scraps
of newspaper surf over broken pavement, with some

sort of grace. But there is no grace anymore; not here,
not anywhere. You begin drinking more, to smooth
rough edges. This is not our first time—we have seen things
before. Tomorrow we will head inland, over scrubby plains

up to the Rif. We stand here at the tip of the continent,
all of Africa stretching in front of us, sensing the rumblings
of resentment shifting our marriage; that we may not
make it, that the times will try us, and break us

     – Lauren Tivey
     St. Augustine, Florida

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