Rose Mary Boehm
Christmas in Morocco
The ferry from Algeciras to Tangiers.
The car in the hold. On deck a place
near the wheelhouse to kneel on the metal floor
and bend low in the direction of Mecca.
Families, muppet-like, opened and closed
their faces, smearing chocolate and doughnut jam
from ear to ear, finger to thumb.
The seagulls kept pace.
Arrived in the dark. Hotel Boston
in the old town. Clean blankets, no sheets.
I woke, shivering, my travel multi-meter
said 5.00 am, six degrees below freezing.
One window was cracked.
First light. Iced-up windows distorted
my view until I breathed a melt: Men in djelabas
congregated under my window in animated conversations
I didn’t understand. Their faces hidden under hoods.
Across the narrow road a woman was hanging
sheets and blankets onto washing lines strung
from wall to wall on her roof. She wore a djelaba
against the cold, but no scarf against the men.
Collector of Days
An old man. Stooped. A black suit, cardboard collar.
A grey beard, glasses over sad, sunken eyes.
A much fingered wooden box. An old, dark shop.
Antique clocks, hesitant chimes.
The old man buys days; dog days,
death days, murderous ones...
The day a woman caused her lover’s death,
the night a father witnessed his daughter’s suicide,
the afternoon a mother helplessly
watched her small son drown,
the day the earth stood still.
All come to him to sell their worst days.
He takes them off their hands.
He guards them in the box, cherishes
the treasures it contained. Strokes it
gently before he settles for the night,
but he doesn’t sleep. His clients forget
their transaction. Man and women wonder
where Tuesday has gone, Monday,
Wednesday, or Friday, or why the matron
down the road is dressed up
to go to church on a Saturday.
Emptiness accompanies the collector.
His clocks ring hollow.
The light stops at the dirt-covered
windows, his hunger never sated.
Some days cannot be bought.
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of Tangents, a poetry collection published in the UK in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print). She was twice winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, a new poetry collection, From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949 : A Child’s Journey, has been published by Aldrich Press in May 2016, and another new collection, Peru Blues, is to be published by Kelsay Books 2016/2017.