Poems from al-Andalus

Madinat az-Zahra

مدينة الزهراء

Alabaster roses
spring at random
from a single stem,

yet hiss and spit
in scrambles
for ascendancy.

A narcissistic fountain
plays for hours
in the twilight,

while in the fluted
audience hall
a dynasty implodes.

The postern keeper
doesn't ask the soldiers
why they've come.

First published in Blue Minaret.