veggies of the desert

visiting the sinai desert in egypt
staying with bedouins in a tent
on the shore of the red sea
one morning being asked by the woman in the kitchen
to go with suliman the driver to the nearest town
and get some veggies
heading south on the curving desert road
mighty red and yellow mountains to our right
the sparkling blue of the red sea to our left
at the market looking at the veggies
the tomatoes, lemons, eggplants, and cucumbers
are all tiny, wrinkled, and covered with desert dust
asking suliman to go somewhere else for better veggies
suliman answering there is no other place
having no choice buying the miserably looking veggies
when dinner time comes
eating tomatoes and eggplants and cucumbers
best tasting veggies ever
from the tiny wrinkly lemons coming pouring out
rivers of powerful lemon juice
making me remember the fancy-looking veggies
sold at korean delis in new york
gigantic and shiny
looking like top model
yet totally flavorless
the desert veggies ain’t got no extra resources
to waste on looks
all the energy goes into the inside
potency, nutrients, and flavor
© 1997. All Rights Reserved.
Zemach Zohar Wilson, Sinai Desert, Egypt, March 1997

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