In the market, crowds of people
surge from one booth to another.
The din is unbelievable,
the shouting. One man barters
angrily and loud for jugs of wine.
A woman watches as a vendor
measures out a bag of cumin seeds.
We shuffle past to find a booth
where we can trade our reason in
for love, and we succeed.
The mystic’s shop is different
from the others. Its sign’s distinct.
It trades in journeys.
What you thought
were rugs piled under chairs and wine
in casks stacked out of sight are pathways
past the planets to another world,
as different from the noisy market
as Cairo is from Almaty.
The market-goers plod the dirt
and never realize that paths
through air ascend beyond the booth.
Those familiar with the desert
have no knowledge of the sea
or those who live there. Moses
saw his one beloved on Mount Sinai;
Jesus, while he dangled from a cross
in agony. Another sees in darkness,
still another, through a brilliant light.
Each person finds his own way
to the neighborhood of God.
One crumbles into dirt, and kisses
the doorway threshold, that’s the place
he loves. Another searches
solemnly for light, and when he finds
the flame, becomes as giddy
as a fluttering moth. Another,
like Mazun, tears off his shirt,
and throws his chest out as a shield,
and hopes for arrows.