My sister when she came back from Mauritania

on flickr

She showed us how she poured the tea from glass to tiny glass until the foam built, told us how she practiced with soapy water like a child and the real children laughed to see how she spilled.

She dropped her fork in the sand as we picnicked, but she said she couldn't be bothered by dirt like that after Africa.

My sister when she came back from Mauritania hung her handwashing to dry all around our tiny city bathroom.

I forgot a breath when I opened the door because this fabric was woven and dyed on a continent I have never seen, by a woman who speaks a language I have never heard. Because my sister bargained for it with French and Arabic words and wrapped it around herself in a city that is being swallowed by the Sahara.

And here it swoops from hanger to hanger, this windy brilliant difficult garment swinging its miles of maroon and purple against our faded tiles.

12 comments:

Priya 4/19/2009 5:08 PM  

Mauritania! That is so cool.

Oksana 4/19/2009 5:09 PM  

No words. Just... wow.

wilsonian 4/19/2009 5:19 PM  

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Bambola 4/19/2009 5:50 PM  

You write, SO well. The regard you have for the garment, the value you can see in the fact that it is hanging in your bathroom, a world away from where it was made... stunning.

Nerd Goddess 4/19/2009 7:25 PM  

I believe I've cursed you before for your impeccable word choice and writing abilities.

And I curse you again.

Just lovely.

Cuileann 4/20/2009 12:03 AM  

Priya - Yes! I think so too. I'm hoping I'll be able to get myself there sometime, since my sister has contacts there and can give me the down-low.

Oksana, wilsonian, Bambola, Nerd Goddess - Thank you so much, for reading and for commenting so graciously.

Beth Kephart 4/20/2009 1:29 AM  

I won't curse you. Just honor you.

You are an exceptionally well traveled family. Is this the same sister who did not share Saltines?

Erin 4/20/2009 8:43 AM  

This is breathtaking.
You have a bril way with words, Cuil.

Summermoon 4/21/2009 4:26 AM  

Um, ditto everyone else who has already commented?

I bow down to your general amazing-ness.

Sara 4/21/2009 5:15 AM  

I can't get over the beauty of this post..and that you've used such words to describe the continent I belong to.. I have never been to Mauritania though, but nonetheless, this is so beautiful!

mixedblessings89 4/21/2009 12:55 PM  

Gift. You are a gift to a starved mind.

Cuileann 4/22/2009 6:44 PM  

Beth, Erin, Summermoon, Sara, Aditi - Thank you so much for reading. I am so honored by your words!

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