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  • New city.
    New steps
    down streets unfamiliar,
    following signs I couldn’t read
    I arrived in the old square

    ringed by tired store fronts,
    faded signs,
    peeling paint.
    While above, along crowded verandahs,
    petunias and geraniums spilled
    and jasmine stars hid the rusting rails

    from the swirl of the soccer game
    a foot swung among the knot of boys
    the ball arced high through the tangled arbor.
    one, enraptured by the game,
    leaped the benches
    in glory’s vain attempt.
    the others never noticed
    girls in short shorts
    signaled a different game

    around the perimeter, women in abayas and jilbabs,
    clustered around their bags and baskets,
    had words aplenty for games of every sort.
    their chatter bright as spangled light
    against the somber tones of brick dust and black robe

    across the way,
    guarded by cross-armed waitrons,
    men in suits
    sipped tiny expresso singles
    eyes locked in stare downs with unblinking smart phone screens

    along the narrow, gum stained walkway
    men in shirtsleeves
    stepped out of bars
    leaned against cars and plaster walls
    crowding the narrow walkway
    smoking and watching the sunlight redden
    roofs and shutters,
    watching shadows deepen

    Without knowing,
    I found my myself there,
    in the old square
    at the road’s end.
    Where time’s breath slows,
    where yesterday, today and tomorrow
    bloom together
    like the bush beside the gate
    scenting the air with possibility and promise.
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