Great Damascus

I dream about Damascus.
Ancient city with fragrant flowing leaves,
cobblestones soaked by legends,
empire after empire
walking down its slopes
and losing themselves in the bazaar
of swinging clinging hips.

Damascus, prosperous city close to Sito
who resided in Mount Hermon,
family rarely making the distant trek
to abundant goods and abundant food
where tales of the Bible
folded in embers of the night.

What will become of Damascus
when her ancient architecture is bombed
and streets fly through the air
and shrapnel takes more lives
like Sito’s mother
who watches from heaven.

Damascus is a dream
sprinkled on printed pages
and laced in reborn minds.
Its claims to fame
fill an eternal papyrus
that rolls far beyond the borders of Syria
and the Mediterranean Sea.

Damascus has been ruled.
Damascenes often fight.
The freedom of the city
burns holes through dictums
and lays waste to emperors
with delusions of global hegemony.

Islamic mosques
Christian churches
Ottoman rooftops
Roman stones
and seven surviving city gates
stand in defiance of time
and the lust for war.

What will become of the body
of John the Baptist,
the Umayyad Mosque,
the House of Ananias
and the ancient Jewish quarter
when bombs fall like hail
across Damascene skies?

The breathtaking arches
the underground chapels
the vibrant centers of commerce
and the home to so much of the world
ticks on a Washington timer
where one of the oldest
most magnificent
and spiritual cities,
great Damascus,
will be sacrificed
for precarious gain.

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