In Dahab, At Dusk

A skirmish of sand, sea and mountain

unravels in the opalescent haze of dusk.

The sky’s spine arches,

an inconceivable vastness,

everything below it bathed in

lavender and hibiscus.


The air thick with a heat

that throbs and fades:

an ancient, eternal pulse.

The call to prayer pounces

on the chests of all within earshot,

and then curls up there.


Gangs of foolhardy goats and children

pick their way through broken beer bottles,

fill passing pickup trucks with

tangled limbs and laughter,

more commandeer than stowaway.


This world is theirs;

the labyrinthine rubble,

the grumbling of camels,

the stealth of each night that

creeps in as silent and sudden as sleep.


The sea sighs to itself but

no scar shows where Moses

parted its flesh all those years ago.

In the heady smoke of mint and sage,


the evening unfurls and flares.