I’m fascinated with the camelids
The even toed ungulates, like the camels
Humped mono or duo, dromedary or bactrian.
Dromedary which means “runner”
Can be see pacing in races in Alice Springs
Or carrying kilos of grain in Fez
And the bactrian is found moving idly along poppy fields
Of Afghanistan. And these camels move their feet
One flank at a time, raising and settling
Two limbs together, bearing fat with fiber
Inside a little hump on top which
Breaks down the fat to water and energy.
I look at those sleepy eyes, slapping tongue, chewy lips
That graze for nearly half a day. A dessert ship that floats
On straw-colored dunes, with a sturdy hull
And an oil-rich mast, making journeys
On foot. Nomads breaking the dusty wind,
And the scorching sun. And I look at their
Influence on culture, how they made the
Cigarette, a man’s panache, and their toes,
A part of women’s anatomy, and the three wise men,
Journeymen of the Occident. Wondrous creatures these
Dessert arks are, carrying the cargo of man,
From souks to the majaz, bazaar to home.


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