Spotlight: A Thin Season / In My Travels

A Thin Season

(For a young man beheaded for listening to Western pop tunes
in his father’s grocery store)

It is a thin season
culling the air of blue breath
choked sudden as a sword
at the throat of a young infidel
the forbidden pop tune of his innocence
still playing in the annals
of his thoughts
kneeling, repetitive, insistent
as the accusations of the faithful
who behead him
on an afternoon like any other
clouds rising
in a decimation of distance
between the neck and heaven.
Isis goddess of love, the moon,
magic and fertility,
a healing sister of deities
daughter of earth and sky,
twists in a massacre
of celestial delusions
bearing the severed body
back to the arms that bore him,
the ones who will hear music
no more.

In My Travels

I can’t remember what I left behind…
something in Morocco,
a one-day trip on a ferry with goats
around the rock of Gibraltar,
women swathed in black sheets
oblivious to the heat,
their disallowed energy
herding chickens on the weather worn deck,
coal fired eyes avoiding mine.
I am a woman too,
have herded children, objects and desires.

On this other continent
sweat woven rugs are hawked to me,
okra and moss colored herbal tinctures
hold promises to cure what I cannot;
a swell of odors wafts through
narrow, primeval alleyways,
huddles of figures in stone hollows
bake barbaric bread on stone pallets
extended to me by nomadic hands,
primary sustenance
like old communion
dry and stiff on my tongue.
A curved backed Bedouin
shines a seller’s smile
a toothless mouth and beggar’s hand
offering objects I can take home
to narrate my journey.

Back at the hotel
the coast of Spain is blurred
through a rain embossed window,
tears streaking
for the remembered sweater I left behind
in the store of the ruby frocked merchant,
fez tassel swirling among his wares.
And all the spoils and discount deals
cannot replace the history of my sweater
sitting alone an ancient culture away,
never to come home again.

Karen Corinne HercegKaren Corinne Herceg graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with a B.A. in Literature & Writing and has graduate credits in editing, revision, and psychology. Her first volume of poetry is Inner Sanctions, and she is completing a second volume. She publishes poetry, prose, and essays in numerous publications. Karen is a featured poet on the New York poetry scene. Her website is: www.karencorinneherceg.com, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @karen_herceg.