Kalid 2

He is a Riad.
I’ve learned the difference
A Riad has a small thick cedar
Which may be hiding a palace of cedar
Tile red clay and strong marble floors
Intricate rugs woven with secret symbols
So rich so completely unexpected.
Well maybe he is not all that.
But he is not a Dar with balconies
And donkeys where enterprise takes place
In a naked courtyard.
And he is twenty seven and our guide.
Is filled with many historical, religious
On Attar’s Conference of the Birds, the
Hoopoe was the guide who led
All the screeching flapping birds towards
The Bird of Birds- the Simurgh
Few of them made it and what they found when
They got there as so the poem goes—
Was themselves.
Today I walked through a full territory
Of red clay ruins.
From the outside it was nothing
Inside it snaked from ornate room
To room. Tiles, marble, silver, gold dust
There was the room for the favorite wife
Who was also the advisor and a smaller room for
Twenty or more concubines. This really
Happened. Kalid said there were once soft pillows, furniture, fireplaces
Today the room was empty with its floor
The marble imported especially from Italy
A chill from the tiled walls included in which
He showed me was a yellow star of David.
I will talk later about how these Moroccans turn
Their facts and myths inside out to prove that
Jews were equal, respected even loved.
I’ll check up on that. On second thought the
Jewish cemetery in Fes looked like a bunch

Of white ovens
The first wife.
The four second wives
The concubines
I am thrilled by the facts and
Tense from their revelations.
In this Kasbah was a court—Kalid
Showed me where
The King judged who was a criminal
Who should go free
The criminal beheaded on the spot.
Tomorrow I will met Berber Nomads
The women have tattoos above their noses
Between their eyes
Some never leave their tents and
Only trade with passersby.
The poverty of the poverty red sharks
Along our route is breathtaking.
The mountains and fields are from the Bible.
There is a mosque in every village- even one
With four houses and another village only a half
mile away which must have its own mosque.
One last fact. I dreamt about the book
Of Deuteronomy from this
Book the Old Testament comes the

               Do not forget!

Never forget
you are a Jew Mordechai says to
Esther when she enters the palace of the Persian king.
Tomorrow we meet the Berber Nomads
Kalid has told me were—in ancient time
Part Jews.
I’m interested in the drums and metal castanets.
And the dreams of Kalid
Who was born as one of them.

Elizabeth Swados