Ba’al Dhubab

by Nigel Holt

A young boy wears old men’s fatigues,
drum-tight and drawn for the night.
He has set like the sunken sun,
stiff in his ruffling robe of flies.
Emperor for today in creeping kohl,
black grin, and ephemeral crown;
only when the hot white breath of frightened
ambulances rasps past, does he rise
in a hundred thousand winged crescent.