“Khaflah” by Brandon Marlon

Khaflah – Arabic: Traditional Bedouin meal and hospitality

Bluish flames scale night,
tempting clustered recliners
on mottled rugs and cushions
with visions and ecstasies;
only incoming, crescent-shaped saniyas
laden with savory eggplant maqluba,
and the sizzle of skewered veal and mutton
rubbed with hyssop and sesame oil
tether nomadic imaginations
back to burning concerns.

There are wells to dig, raids to plan,
hostages to ransom, clans to humble,
but inside these precious moments
sheltering the mind from life’s rougher winds
the spirit wallows
and uncommon clarity
purifies murky outlooks.

Afar from cozy palms, baying wolves
hunting in packs linger
to greet the haloing moon; our
trussed donkeys bray their respects
in turn, just as the host serves
steaming black coffee and blesses us
with Dushara’s favor come daybreak

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