Seeing Egypt

Mary Lynn Bahr

In Luxor it is a holy day.

Tidal fists and turbans surge

with flash white foaming eyes

downstreet around your

uncapsizeable bus.

Don’t drink the water.

In Aswan you can sail in white faloukas

and order French fries from the careful waiter

in the garden by the pool

and pay to see a troupe of Nubians

dance in green and yellow,

but the flour-armed baker and his dusty sons

will give you unsalted pitas

and the clothingstore boy with crooked teeth

will call his little sisters.

In the basement of the Cairo Hilton

you can drink Coke at slim white tables

and browse expensive imported boutiques

where everyone knows English,

all but some giggling black-haired

girls from the university

who smile and gaze and without words

give you the silver rings from their fingers.