Saffron and Shadows

Concealed in a tent of Oriental silk and tapestry,
the women feast upon orange lamb
khoresh, couscous, and Persian soup–much sough after
morsels. Stuffed as full as grape leaves on the platter,
They sip daintily on rose water and laughter.

Broom skirts brush against the ground.
The jingle of tiny bells chimes up from adorning belts
that are swathed upon the girl’s waists as they lounge upon pillows and swap
gossip and tall tales. The sounds join the clatter of clay cups pressed
back and forth between lips and table top.

Candles of all shapes and forms surround the gathering place.
They sparkle and dance, swaying to the rhythm of the Moroccan music
arising from among the fragrant garden of honeysuckle and orchard trees.
The flames leap forward, casting tall shadows to loom across and dance
upon the flower petals in deep indigo pools of light,
while wavering in the breeze.

Lingering in the golden cast of filigree rose silk,
a dancer dips her hips in and out of the sapphire shadows.
One by one, the girls leave their meals and join the rhythm and melodic designs
of the song rising like incense to the moon behind the palm branches,
each swaying like the flames in a dance among the trumpet vines.

Valerie Sapora Rains 2004

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