From Andalusian Conversations: The Alabaster Jar

by Samuel De Lemos

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Alabaster jar
perfect and true,
show me the
origin from whence
were you born?

I came from the desert
past the Nile. We walked
for many, many miles.
Until, there was nowhere
else to go. Then, on
ships we crossed the
sea and landed on these
Hispanic shores.

I am a vessel
carved by god,
I carry perfume
of the richest
scent.

Made from the most fragrant
trees, the liveliest
flowers and the wings
of bees.

Musing, I said to
myself, is this
al-abaste, that
holds the
perfume of
Egyptian
royalty?

I am
that what
you say
of me.

I was sent
here to
anoint my
dead.

We
are here
only for
a temporary
season.

When our
mission has elapsed,
and our rulers
are gone.
We’ll travel back
to where we came from.

But, the scent of
the purest of oils.

That which
is essential for
sustaining life,
will be left.

As a reminder
of that which is
preeminent,
from the blooming
and fertile
desert.

A desert,
that traveled,
lived and died
on these
distant shores.

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