They weave me on hundred-year-old looms
with camel wool milky as goat’s eyes
and dyes the gold flakes of leaves in the trees
and the red trickle of chins after cherries.
When they touch me, I can feel too the men
who follow them home, the husbands
who widowed them, and the newborns still nursing.
In their hair I smell the desert, and starlight
pathways into the old medina, and when they sing,
it is more beautiful than figs still warm
from the sun, or mint in tea glasses, or even your name.
Why have I never heard them before?
Where they touch me, I touch their songs.
As they bend over me, holding up the frayed hems
of their dresses like lamps, they are more memorable
than sight or jasmine trees or the beggar’s teeth.
I want to tell them to have them dance on me
is like no pleasure I have ever known,
even their joy. When they kneel on me in prayer,
their mouths are matches for God’s light,
and they swallow God whole like sugar.