Ten Years in the Tropics

No road without the white-hot shimmer
of illusioned water.
No green grass except
among the black stubble of recent burns—
as if ash could take the place of rain and give life.
No lingering twilight or slow-moving dawn
separated nights of hot moon from burning days.

In those days I believed
that earth was fire— it was red
and hostile to life.
I believed all water was illusions.
I thought “storm” meant dust devil, sandstorm, firestorm.
I though grass would always be
the color of lions
and that one square foot of shade
was priceless real estate.

Now I seek the sunnier side of every street.
I’ve learned all the words for rain.
I’ve watched roads flood with real water
and green life sprout
from black earth.
I’ve forgotten how life comes from ash.

Tiel Aisha Ansari

About Tiel Aisha Ansari

Tiel Aisha Ansari is a Sufi, martial artist, and data analyst living in the Pacific Northwest. Her work has appeared in Fault Lines Poetry, Windfall, Verseweavers, The Lyric, Mascara, and an Everyman's Library anthology, among others. Her poetry has been featured on KBOO, Prairie Home Companion and MiPoRadio and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her collection Knocking from Inside is available from Ecstatic Exchange, and her chapbook High-Voltage Lines from Barefoot Muse Press. Visit her online at knockingfrominside.blogspot.com and https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TielAishaAnsari
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