You offer me Zanzibar’s alleys, angled like broken bones
around the sultan’s palace. You offer me stone steps
we climb hand in hand to emerge on a rooftop.
You offer me rusted tin roofs, red as Persian carpets
flung below us. A skyline pricked by minarets,
Hindu temple towers and missionary spires.
You offer me the Indian Ocean, blue as grace.
Restless as Odysseus, in love with languages
and maps, you offer me in place of home
a tasseled cushion, spice tea
served by a girl with henna-stenciled hands,
trade winds flapping
canvas over our heads. You offer me sun
slipping into water, mothers summoning children
as dusk takes her census.
You offer me bells booming vespers, temple chimes,
the mosque calling its faithful to prayer—
this hour that every God has named sacred.
Darkness swallows the blue scarf of ocean.
Lantern light shadows your face. Take all this, you say,
my wanderings will always circle back to you.