After Scheherazade

Tell us of the stories that never end
                                                       unless in love.
The trapped their caves escape.
The honest poor rejoice in the streets of Baghdad,
and birds despite the cage
have words enough to speak.
Tell us how demons and kings are merciful.
Until morning breaks, we are allowed to dream.
In the bedroom with you, your lover's smile
poised like an angry knife, a string of pearls
broke in their counting and a thousand beads
rang on the marble floor: some broken where they fell,
others whole but lost in niches full of shadows.
I might believe that it will end like this,
again and again
(though only when the night is at its deepest)
believe that words can coax a heart from exile.
But sand builds only dunes in the desert wind,
and someone else told us your tale, Scheherazade.

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