Like swallows they return each year
their vermilion scarves stirring
in the relentless,
oppressive, scalding Sciroccos.

They come amber scented
from Tunisia
the hems of their lilac kaftans
fluttering in zephyr's
white-hot breath.

They come from Kashmir
with mehndi stained hands and feet,
physical graffiti,
their silk saris whispering raginis
pitched to sultry winds.

They come from Cairo
their kohl eyes
searching the bazaar
for the delicate spider web lace,
the rondels woven by
needle pricked fingers.

They come from AndalucĂ­a
with jessamine and geranium
pinned into the lustrous ripples
of their burnished ebony hair

They come and they go
to return each year like swallows.

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