Poetry at Sangam



IN THE RITZ AT MEKNES by Manuel Ulacia

(Translated from the Spanish by Indran Amirthanayagam.)

One glance was enough,
the silence between two sentences,
the tenuous graze of your hand
when you asked for the key
in the heat of the siesta,
so that the young concierge
with a glance like a gazelle’s,
went behind you to your room.

What delight to touch
his olive-toned muscles,
with their fragrance of orange blossoms,
and to kiss his ample lips
flavored with cardamom,
as the fan
spun round refreshing
the intertwined bodies
desiring each other in their delirium,
the way the desert desires water.

What pleasure in the instant
when bodies forget
reality and let it go
where? where?

The city woke up in the fullness
of the hour. Cars, motorcycles,
a radio’s music,
mysterious Arabic,
brought you back to the world.
The concierge said goodbye
in a hurry and left the room.
You fell asleep
and woke in another dream
when the muezzin began
to pray into his microphone.
From the balcony, the palace
shone resplendent in the sonorous
night full of stars.