She comes into our lives to beg, at dawn
boarding the third class train to Luxor,
blind singer with a boy to lead her. Sand
blown on sleepers, grit in eyes and teeth.

Winched from the dark, her voice chuckles
through irrigation ditches. Her joy disowns
her grief, sets her huge body battered
like the Sphinx shaking to dance with serpents.

Rumours, allied with sandalwood and sweat, of love
trading for courage over time. Flies climb
her lapis lazuli eyes. We cannot pay,
not with our lives, to make her stay.

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