From ‘Exile’

Exile erodes me, a stick in a sandstorm / vertigo, the nausea of withdrawal, knocks me over / a rag waving in the wind / above the tentpegs of deserted encampments / The perfume of nostalgia suffocates me / like a child dragged by the reflux of the waves / The sun desiccates my heart / Estrangement leathers my eyes / grimacing ghosts / Worries have worn rivers in my temples / marks of life / wrinkles on a discarded watermelon / along the path of the caravan / which links Ghadamis to Timbuktu / My memories are fixed in the mirage of time / Today, thousands upon thousands of steps / valley of vipers, smoke-shadowed cliffs / separate me from encampments of old / where crows have devoured the last rays of nomadic life
Exile binds me like a sailor’s rope
Anguish works me into a needle of pain
Years and years have gone by / I am the imprint of my dreams