Dark smoke rose from charred
upper floors of a factory farther
on shore. Only a night before,
the squads of soldiers had closed
the port, secured those old boats
moored along the wharf, fragile
cargo warming all morning long
under a scorching summer sun.
When my father and I viewed
the shooting through field glasses,
we counted a couple of dead
on the dock--pockets searched
at first, arms and legs bound,
then their bodies lifted, tossed
to the sea and lost to sight, one
black shoe bobbing like a buoy.
For more than a week we said
little to each other, told nobody
else about what we had seen.
We knew we were only visitors,
just stopping off for a few days,
making our way to Morocco--
nothing but tourists, sightseers
drawn to odd places of interest.
Even today, though thirty years
later, as a small gray cloud hovers
above the picnic charcoal pit,
where my son and I are grilling
our holiday dinner, I still think
of that July when the two distant
figures disappeared, slid beneath
rising waters of an afternoon tide.
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