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The Red Hijab

                   Persian Gulf

A hard rain falling on the corrugated roof
of the abandoned double-wide
across the steaming street,
its tangle of razor wire and oleander,
the rotting porch, cats prowling underneath
and mewing from branches
of the long-dead acacia tree
and I've been at my desk
all morning, upstairs in the loft,
the windows streaked and pocked
with drops and rivulets
and the ring-necked doves
all lined up under the eaves,
wings folded and feathers fluffed.
This place is as old as anything.
Every kind of person has traveled through.
Every animal and bird and weapon
so these days, only rain is remarkable.
I am watching the trash-picking man,
his head wrapped in a potato sack
his shoulders buttressing the clouds,
dragging his bin down the cobbles,
driveway to driveway, rain
beading down to the tip of his nose
and then a housemaid passing by,
basket of laundry in one hand
opened umbrella in the other,
her brown face turned down
but her red hijab a damp smudge
of brightness moving, in relief,
against the bruising sky.

Bonnie Bolling

The Red Hijab
BkMk Press

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