Sunday, 10 September 2017

The presence of 5: Travelers in Morocco

by Tobey Hiller

so now we are five. it is
a collusion of dyads and triads, 3’s
not a crowd or triangle but a prime
number how we make our breakfast, lunch
in windward weather skyhigh or the rain.
it will be evening soon or dinnerward or after
all is said and done we sleep, toss, dream
reports. of what I ate, or you saw, their glances
the many silk of saunter through the ochres
mister mister! madame! bright pots of copper
noon boils only when the tempo’s saunter
is easy the only way to go? dirt, striped patience à
droîte où gauche streets meander veiled

a woman wearing mint years offers tea,
her number started very young, three boys
quarrel over walkway coin, two tarnished
ankles, blued by countless days
of walking skins in vats, the third
shopkeeper bows & shakes his head
the four wrinkles in his forehead
each have a word to say, don’t forget
it is the fifth gate beyond the fountain
and the 19th sleeping cat, while donkeys’
longday steps mount un-numbered and
sun stripes thought’s covered shoulder, flicks
noon into any color, and everyone, head down,
counts bleached moments between shadows

so in our nomad moment
sometimes with us it’s two and then
3 makes a stool on which to sit gaze or also
5 threads a mosaic way, plink by plink
lean back the olive trees, Roman urns, grin
masks or music meant for who you aren’t
black wings carried on a market shoulder
Berber silence, desert glitter, mud
walls, salt silence, goats in trees.
maps crumble in the hot gold shadow
but a feather breeze points us 5 or 3 or 2
to count steps one by one, touch brief
honey in drops of time

* * * * *

Tobey Hiller’s publications include: Three poetry collections, Crossings, Certain Weathers, Aqueduct; a novel, Charlie's Exit; poetry and prose in many magazines and three anthologies, an Afterword for a Signet Classic Edition of Jack London’s work. Awards: two magazine firsts for poems (Milkweed Chronicle and SF Poetry); fiction: "The Seventh Blue," finalist for the 2009 REYNOLDS PRICE SHORT FICTION AWARD and "Splinter," finalist for the 2016 Los Gatos-Listowel Short Story Contest.

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