Flamingos Feed Far in the Shadows
Embassy Row starts with Morocco in salmon
cement, then Pakistan, Egypt, spaces in sand
for what will be India, turns the corner in
beauty: glazed azure, scrolled lemon, and cobalt
spiral motifs of Iran. At the sealine there’s rubble.
Tan and black nurslings, sometimes a white one, feed at
the camel souk. The falcon souk, small and deserted, is locked
since avian flu turned regalia to harness. The city’s one
suburb grows south past the bay, along the big water.
Skirted guest workers dock the day’s catch, unload
the Gulf shrimp that fills one of the sandwiches served
for high tea in the first floor café of a place built
to seem a square Aztec temple, the Sheraton Doha.
Mangroves that lined shores have donated salt flats to
fill for construction. Fewer pink stilted birds winter over.
Mary Gilliland lives in Ithaca, New York. She taught at Cornell’s branch campus in Doha in 2006. Recent and forthcoming poetry can be found in Notre Dame Review, Passages North, Seneca Review, Stand, and on her website. Awards include the Stanley Kunitz Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and an Ann Stanford Prize. (4/2008)