On the table
oranges from Palestine.

Your father offers me fresh goat's milk.
If he only knew.

Your skin is as soft
as that prim white tablecloth.

On the wall, a verse from the Koran.
In your breathing, secret springtime lyrics.

Your mother looks kindly at this strange American man.
I wonder if she knows.

We cannot lie, cannot gaze here
but I can still taste your warm fragrance.

On the table, nestled in a brown bowl
plump oranges from Palestine.

Your sister smiles at me.
She knows.

We sit here like two blossoms
on separate banks of the Jordan River.

My eyes reach out for yours.
Your father offers me sweet honey cake.

Your brother practices English with me.
I dictate a letter only you will understand.

On the TV, young men die for their country.
Your lips inflate my soul with life.

Your father invites me back.
I return, commune with you in my dreams a thousand times.

On the table, across the room
the sweetest oranges my tongue has ever seen.

--- ©1996 Mike Maggio

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