The Sultan’s younger brother
glances through patterned pages
complex as the tiles that surround him.
In a dream world of lines and colours
he studies calligraphy and flute,
listens to the familiar drip, drip, drip,
of a fountain carved as delicately
as the petal limbs of his favourite concubine.
A strand of her hair twined around his finger,
he stretches catlike on satin cushions,
tastes jasmine-scented skin,
watches the hips of dancing girls.
He considers life beyond his flower-scripted world
even as his feline complement roams
shades of paradise, moonlit gardens,
pads on soft paws the many-domed roofs.
The cat is not enclosed within a lattice cage
unlike, the Sultan’s younger brother
who'll never again swim in warm seas,
ride rolling plains to the far mountains,
nor walk with friends in city streets.
Glasslike, the pool reflects two boys
shoving each other, tormenting their cat,
too young to know their different destinies.