I don’t haggle, she told me early on.
But a taxi ride to the oasis
cost the driver his newspaper.
For a first-class ticket to Tangier,
the conductor lost his grin
in a photograph. It was mint tea
in the glaring outskirts of Ouarzazate
for a bag of blanched almonds.
And in Marrakech, un petit cadeau
of sticky dates for paying
full price for a kilo of figs.
What should I have asked for,
then, at the port in Algeciras,
where that black dog chased
acacia seeds in a breezeway?
Its master had just returned
with salted cod and a block of hash
to share with his friends.
The placards from last season’s
corridas sagged blanched
from the walls in the morning chill.
The coronas of parked cars
had not yet risen into gleam.
The muezzin was a ferry horn,
and the dog was raking dust
from a scirocco on the tiles
in a cool unbidden prance.
About the Author: Chris Bronsk writes and takes pictures. His work has appeared in Mojave River Review, Creative Thresholds, and elsewhere. He lives in Boston with his wife and son.