She comes to hagallah once a week,
beckoning me, stirring
loose earth with her bare sole.
A twirling hand, a dervish turn
and the chain of gold around her hips
skips, tipsy with her shimmy.
her copper skin sparkles.
When she spins, her curves
become my world, her pulse
woos one of my forgotten veins,
and I shake. Bismillah!
She flashes her charms.
I am the henna in her palms.
the hagallah ['ha- gula] is an oriental dance from Libya and Egypt that
celebrates the coming-of-age of a young woman who performs a belly dance
solo while veiled and facing a line of potential husbands who accompany
her by clapping their hands
Bismillah (the first line in Islamic prayers that translates into "in the name
of God" and is used to request God's protection) also serves as an idiomatic
expression for a range of reactions from wonder and thankfulness to anger