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Tread Carefully

We bought a rug in Tunisia

but they kidded us.

“I am your waiter – don’t you remember me?”

Cajoled onto his catacomb tour;

one thousand year eyes stared up at us.

“My friend’s shop is better value -

it is government controlled”
he said.

So we descended cold stone 

to the showroom below.

“This one is perfect
and this one too…

This is the tree of life.”

“Should I take off my shoes?”

A top quality five knot twist

with no grounds to resist purchase.

So the suitcase got rammed with our rug;

heavy as their complicated history.

“Thank you for coming at this time”

the coach driver tannoyed,

“we appreciate your support.”

One year later that beach went global,

for all the wrong reasons.

I imagine their sea still laps;

their camels’ feign indifference

and insurgents still insurge

through Sousse to Syria.

And our real waiter,

who no doubt was a good man,

probably has no job.

But that wasn’t him.

Most days I tread the rug,

and the soles of my feet

wear delicate paths 

those cunning unknown souls

unwittingly began.

neil armstrong 2016