LEILA: Another Circle


I had business to do

At the grocery store

Which is now my bank

And my post office

And my flower shop

And my bakery

And my coffeehouse.

I can even get flu shots there,

Meet singles there

That is, if I weren’t a double.

My supermarket

Is more like a souk these days

Only not open-air!

A woman appeared in the aisle

In kaftan and head cover.

Did my thoughts summon her?

Our eyes met and I said “Assaamu Alaykum!”

She stopped in the aisle and cocked her head.

“Alaykum Saalam” she smiled

And her dark eyes danced, and

Together we laughed.

I explained I could not go

Much further in my “Street Arabic”

Of twenty-five years ago.

 She said she was happy to hear the casual greeting!

To hear my words from her home,

In this new country, her new home town.

Her name is Leila, and

Her daughter works in the bank.

She asked had I been to Morocco.

No, I said, but I came close once:

Tunisia is a neighbor.

Leila loves Morocco,

Is proud to be Moroccan, and

Grateful to be an American.

I thought now wouldn’t it be fun

If I could go to Morocco with Leila!

Instead we said “Ma’a asalama”

In unison, and laughing again, we parted.

I thought to myself: Inshallah!

                                                C. MelanieWood











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