Sandstorm

Written by: Merle Manu

I am standing in a sandstorm, it is midnight
and the air is hot and muggy

Strands of my hair get whisked from my face, 
and tangle in the dust

My brother and I sit 
astride a giant camel
warm and breathing 
beneath an itchy
hair rug saddle
We are swung forwards, 
almost, then horizontal
as the camel straightens his legs 
to stand. We tip from side 
to side, as he walks, like two water 
jugs on a Dutchman's 
back or the breasts of
a woman with 
a baby in her belly
It is our first night in Cairo
and it is loud. 
Cars honk their 
horns and people bark in 
curry-laden English;
men wearing long 
white dresses ebb
into the shadows. 

I am up way past my bedtime and 
I am awake.