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After Hemingway
For Kiki Petrosino

The girl was gazing at the line of hills
Across the sea, stirring a lump of sugar
In her mint tea. “We can have the whole world,”
Said her Moroccan guide. She purred, “It’s lovely,
But if you say another word I’ll scream.”
He raised his hand to signal for the check,
Thinking: Everything tastes of licorice.
The muezzin’s call for evening prayer began.
“I’ll find my own way to the terminal,”
She murmured. “Enjoy your time in Paradise.”

The warden of the prison vowed to change
The narrative about the string of botched
Attempts to execute the quarterback
Convicted (twice) of murdering his girlfriend.
The media were having none of it.
The series of directives he had issued
To paper over his mistakes fooled no one.
And the barbeque they were invited to
Inspired more digging into his affairs.
What they would find was anybody’s guess.

The pirate lair was looking toward the future:
The bleak facades of a suburban skirmish,
Where a wounded stretcher-bearer hunkered down
In a deserted fort on Cherry Lane,
And dreamed of Casablanca, capital
Of contradictions. From a dream or memory
Came the snake-charmer’s warning at the gate
To the metropolis in which he had
Forsaken everything for a madwoman:
Enter the Old Medina at your peril.