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The ruins Khawla left

on the mottled flatlands of Thimhad

appear and fade, like the trace of a tattoo

on the back of a hand.


When I snap the rough-fringed whip

she bursts forward,

vapours smouldering

over the kindled rock terrain.


You see two heaps of earth

with silent slabs

of hard, deaf stone

piled up upon them.

I see death choose

the generous and the noble,

while picking over the best part

of the hardened miser’s spoil