The Tracks of Birds

Dalyaah - Majda

Waves break and scatter the birds
tracking hash marks in Arabian Gulf sand.
Water washes the shore, all is as before
patient and clean. Car doors jar the reverie,
a party moves in stages onto the beach:
a dancing boy produces a rug; a singing girl,
a thermos of tea. Across my horizon
a veiled woman walks, with eyes forward,
the whites all I see.

She shocks me with her feet,
pale-naked, peeking from beneath. I watch
her heel pad step into sand, the weight molds
imprints into moist dirt; hennaed toes curl
& ankles flash as the night breeze condenses.
She tracks a story, flutters over the sand
to her family, sits & tucks her worldly feet away.
I leave before the water steals all her traces.
My own feet clench & steam between
leather and laces. They question their freedom.