Two friends announced they were planning
To discover Cairo and the desert
I said I’d go remembering my school trip there --
My twelve-old self touring Giza and the pyramids,
Stopping for tea at the Mena House,
Taking a boat ride to King Tut’s tomb,
An overnight train ride to Karnak-Luksor
and the Valley of the Kings.
The following week I sold my camera
a beautiful single lens reflex Nikon
with a gorgeous macro lens.
I was young, fearless and ready for heat stroke.
The men were giddy with excitement,
We talked about shots and malaria pills,
Eating great food on a student budget.
In my mind I visited the souk with endless
Stalls of ladies gallabiahs,
Ate dried dates coated in chocolate,
And bought books by the new Nobel laureate*.
But I never made it to the tarmac at JFK.
The camera paid that month’s rent.
Published in Mizna, Volume 13, Issue 2, 2012
* Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel Laureate in Literature, 1988.