Brittany Perham

1. Marrakech

The light goes on, 

goes off in the courtyard

below the window.

Someone is walking

in a long coat. Someone is

loved beyond reason,

someone not at all.

Somewhere there is a beach,

the moon rising in every stone eye.

I dream of rice paper

and a closet of pressed clothes.

I must intend to stay

all night writing this letter

to you, familiar, unbeloved.

2. Essaouira

I lie all night 

in Élouard’s fiberglass apse.

La mer n’a plus de lumière

et, comme aux temps anciens,

ask me to return to our bed,

or instead come to the dock

fearless, handkerchiefless,

waving to no one.

3. Chefchouen

It has been quiet 

among the clay and the wire

hairline streets.

The mosque is lit

all night though the fountain stops.

No one says why.

The valley is filled with ornamental trees

turning flower instead of fruit.

The valley is further than it seems.

Brittany Perham lives in San Francisco, where she is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her recent work has appeared in Drunken Boat, The Bellvue Literary Review, RHINO, Diner, and others.

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