Hamsin (East Wind)
by Chaim Bezalel
The east wind brings ill tidings
called hamsin, sharaav, sirocco,
a desert wind, a gritty wind
penetrating the nostrils,
filling the mouth to the back teeth.
It is better not to speak.
The mind reels, inflamed,
caught under a magnifying glass.
An east wind parted the Red Sea,
"the wind of judgment,"
a commentator called it.
A shift in atmosphere is detected
as the weather forecast fades
into a sandstorm of white noise.
The weatherman's voice remains calm
even as it is overcome
by the words of the Prophet.
A change in temperature,
if not government,
is in the offing.
Out of Egypt the reception comes
clear as a bell.
Switch to drama of mustachioed physiognomy
caught in outcry of outraged honor-
Cut to woman peering through the curtain,
mascara applied to hieroglyphic eyes.
Ashkelon tributary once more,
outmost outpost of Asia,
the incontinent continent
that perfected both pleasure and torture,
twin pursuits of the true sensualist.
It is an east wind that shrivels the will
and subjugates it to the god of forces,
the Prince of Persia, who restrained
even the Archangel for a time,
or times, or half a time.
Then it lifts, followed by a west wind,
a sea wind, a freshening wind,
a soothing upon the land.