After tremors


Having just finished reading Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, I recall a conversation I had some years ago in the Bab al Bahrain souk.


‘You know, that guy,’ he says

Between the displays

Of Lapis Lazuli and silverware

‘The one who wrote Kite Runner?’

I nod, my eyes coveting

A single large bracelet

Woven with fine strands of silver

Into exquisitely painful

Circles and arabesques


A myriad stones

Inscrutable opals, amethysts

As purple as bruises on a tender face

‘What about him?’ I ask

Half caressing the bracelet

And pointing at

A pair of earrings dripping

Blood-red garnets

Set in marcasite.

Thinking, ‘what does he know of

Kite Runner, he looks as though

He can barely read

Selling jewellery in a store

Over-stuffed with shawls, rugs, woodworked boxes

And glitzy


Waistcoats and table runners.’

Then I see it

Desperation woven into tiny errors

in the embroidery

Startled by a gunshot.

So, I ask again

This time waiting for his response,

‘What about him?

The book was so moving, so violent.’

‘Ta-shakor’ he replies

‘But they were like nothing’

He whispers

Holding the silver bracelet up for me

Quoting a price and adding

‘Like the stories I have in here.’

He points at his head and his heart.

I see half a lifetime

As it leaks out of his hands

Torn fingernails

The intricate patterns

Woven by hard manual labour

Deep cuts on the side

From scrabbling down a mountainside

Hiding in caves

Or was it from protecting his face

Against knife attacks?

As he enters the sale

For the day.


3 responses »

  1. Always well put, loved the details you went into about the different details you described the jewels and antiques. ‘Something sad about but then I think you meant to show it as such.


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