Today's poem is by Tung-Hui Hu

Passage Interdit Aux Non Musulmans

For you they come down from the mountains
bearing oranges and dates to this sweetest
of places. In the dust where donkeys pull carts of

mint leaves wet dirt and clay where men surround
you and demand to know your name and will not
let you leave. To discover you are standing on

someone else's land where his blood has made these
walls of pise and cactus that encircle you who try
to find a passage through his city the red

city which you cannot enter except by deception.
Do words exist only to drive men apart? You talk of a
desert plant named mimosa that folds up into itself

when burnt or touched and what you still smell
is the sweetness of mimosa in the heat.

pise, pise de terre (French 'pounded earth) The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms

Copyright © 2004 Tung-Hui Hu All rights reserved
from the Cream City Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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