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.