funneling through customs
Warm night, hazy air.
hurtle down the freeway
men on curbs, sitting
Sprout eats Egyptian air by the plastic spoonful
Cattle in pickup beds, bound for slaughter
3 lanes, drive in lane 2.5
Why pick 1 when you can straddle 2?
Honk, honk, honk
Mosques, mean-green-lit minarets*
sheep and cattle penned under an overpass.
Manure, farm smell in the rushing city
cow-eyes glowing in the headlights
City of the dead, squatted by wretched living
Woken at two a.m. by crying.
Cat wailing outside the door with a voice like a newborn baby.
Too hot to sleep
Streets almost empty
Horns. Horns. Horns.
3 men lounging in plastic chairs, suit vests gaping,
squat, silver machine guns shining on their pudgy tummies
They smile at us.
Wall plaque announces: Presidential Residence
On the street corner, one fatted calf, being skinned,
another watching, waiting its turn without even knowing it.
Sprout points at the dead animal, "Horse! Horse!"
Visit two apartments
Pasha prices, not for us.
Take out the trash; a woman comes to me, hand out, begging for my scraps.
Disconcerted, I explain it is cat waste, litter of the worst kind.
Kind woman in the supermarket, buys Sprout a KitKat.
Cheese spread sold in drinking glasses, like the principle of buying mustard in France.
"Noisy en Egypt," Sprout says, pacing in the hotel.
Breakfast by the pool
Sprout reiterates, "noisy! Noisy Egypt!"
Tea with Papa
Trip to the bookstore
New friend, Mona, for Sprout.
Mona says, Come all the time! I teach Sprout Arabic!
* I actually wrote "neon" but I first read my scrawl as "mean"