We went to the Dead Sea but I didn’t bring
my bathers so I couldn’t go in. I had to
watch on the shore, I didn’t know then
I’d never be back. I was young.
I thought rivers and seas and skies lasted
forever. I thought they’d wait for me.
I thought I could build bridges
back to anything, anywhere. Anyone.
I remember my Egyptian fiance’s mother
had a checkered cloth on the table.
It reminded me of my mother’s back
home in Melbourne. But here, we were
eating pigeon, it had been roasted.
My mother’s roasts were chicken or lamb
or pork and she always saved me
the crackling. Here we were in Hurghada,
we were in Cairo, we went to Alexandria.
My mother stayed home. My mother never
went anywhere. She’s still never been on
a plane. My mother’s life fills me with sadness.
I thought I had time to fill it with things –
Europe, or an island, somewhere, anywhere.
I didn’t know, I didn’t know, what life had
in store for us.
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