here is what we see in Ein Frani, Algeria in July : shine the flashlight on the garage wall and fat juicy crawlies grey with centipedal like legs- fatter but much like Rollie pollies- they'll drop in their effort to keep out of the lights path.
they don't like the light ( a lizard as grey as the dust is hanging from the corrugated tin roof's white washed corner you'll see flies, flies , flies because below the watermelon rinds are rotting on the edge of the sea
youll see starlings fighting midair above the silent sea/ you'll see yourself covering between your legs even though the iron door to the yard is shut and all the houses are way below your fence line and your husband and kids are asleep/ here is what you find in July: the water is so, so still all day and then, just suddenly waves begin to crash an d wind begins to pull and stir/ maybe now you'll sleep
here is what you'll see: your husband is called away from the house for an emergency at his sister's house:
here is the emergency: his niece and his sister want his approval of a marriage match she might make ( the niece) and the prospective husband is coming for coffee and so
you'll see him slam the water bottle down in front of your son because he (your son) is pulling him one way (toward the toy boat his papa promised to take him to buy) and
another way by his sister who most days of the week (except Wednesday, the only night her husband spends with her, wife # 2) except the one day she thinks most days HE is her rightful husband to spoil and prod, so sit next to in the car's front seat, to cook special cuts of lamb for, to pull out the red, centered heart of the watermelon and place it specially into his hands,
to lovingly sift Cinnamon through her fingers into designs of dots and loops into the words 'I love you, Mohamed" in Arabic onto the plate of rice pudding cooling on the plate: stop and digest that please: I love you, Mohamed, something even I, his wife of 9 years would be shy to write on a plate of sweet, creamy dessert. she does not see that this might not be normal
this is what you'll see: the starlight cups the windows/
this is what you'll see: heat so still land thick firm no relief comes from lieing down or cold water/
only when you sit and fold your whole body into a huge bucket of water (who care the rolly pollies have mostly drowned there?) dress on, underwear on, and try to pour water over your head
this is what you find in the market of Kristel in mid-July- measly corn, zucchini, zucchini, green beans potatoes a light brown thin skin that fries like paper in the oil, foot long branches of mint and parsley and cilantro- cilantro always with flowers on top, tiny white flowers/ this is what you find in the center of the marke: men elbowing each other to get to the fresh spring water that comes from the crack in the mountain's wall just outside the mosque. the water is so sweet and cold and pure from the dead volcano of Kristel.
this is what you'll smell: fig leaves;. even if you pick one leaf and use the sticky, burny white sap on the end of the leaf's stem to try to burn the tiny wart on right hand off, even after that you come home and you put the one largish leaf on your window sill, you'll smell it whenever the wind begins to stir again in the afternoon.
this is what you'll smell: the first, barely ripe figs sitting in a green bucket being fanned by a small child to keep the flies from laying eggs, eggs, so many eggs they will burst open and sparkle black caviar seeds of flies as they did in the fig tree beside the abandoned house that was planted by a frenchman who returned to france abruptly in 1962 after the revolution forced them all to flee, flee, flee and which now belongs to a man who has now immigrated to france to work.
you'll smell the hot round loaves of bread, golden brown and just crusty, a sprinkle of black seeds across its face.
this is what you'll smell in mid to late-July in the Northwest of Algeria when you speak half the language but have forgotten your french, remembering it only in bursts and mostly when the english word with an accent passes as french and you have to communicate something to the mother of a small child who is jabbing your child under his eye repeatedly.
oh/ you will also smell the fig leaf when it is so still that the flies seem to bring a breeze and the rooster calls in a sick voice for a bride and one of the green, green pears you bought at the market yesterday burns your throat it is so unready but you keep eating it anyway and the cicadas whirl up and down up and down in dizzy voices and the rooster god damn/ the rooster is waking up the baby/ not quite a baby but 2 now and still nursing and in diapers but able to talk and demand demand demand/
and the older son torchorously wakes up the younger one all the way and you forget the fig leaf and sea and get up the make coffee because now it is coffee time again