Mehara

well-over forty, saidi, yet not broken
and bought in the fourth year, when
they learn, to kneel or rise, even better
to feel the hump, saidi, the hump
is always better than the milk, curdled
or pressed — rafiqi, look how it, ‘gurgles
and holds,’ evil at heart, ‘it is a mahara,
it senses,’ the difference between enemy,
and friend, like Beni M’zab or Reguibat,
never appearing, never in market-places
to face the sun, but through the endless
choking and spitting turned loose
where the weather is cooler and water
only a few miles away

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