The Mouth of the Cave

September 23, 2016


Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and has been published in 100+ publications in Canada, U.S.A., England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Romania, Israel, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Trinidad, & Mexico.

A legendary trove slumbers under sandscape,
tempting Muslim and zendik[1] alike:
hopefuls brave distant vistas for Samsama[2],
mythic symbol of battlefield heroism.
Advancing upon mundane wilderness,
a Bedouin urchin recites memorized cipher;
magically prompting the cavernous rictus,
he swiftly plunges into craggy depths.
Greeted by an aureate glow of buried riches,
he shields his gawp from splendor:
beyond gem and jewel and coin lies the prize,
its metal glinting with exultant sheen;
forged by the Jewish sons of Bani Qaynuqa,
Samsama once felt Muhammad’s hand.
Carefully the urchin inches toward the sword,
which has never missed a single stroke.
Grasping its antique haft with dusty fingers,
he sees three nails binding blade to hilt.
Abruptly the rictus rumbles and groans,
startling boldness verging on triumph:
now even scorpions and horned vipers scatter
…as dust clouds obscure a gilded trap.

[1] Arabic: Unbeliever
[2] Arabic: Cleaver; a legendary sword in Islam which passed through the hands of caliphs and poets

© Brandon Marlon

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