The Romans built on the ruins of the Phoenicians,
The Maranids cleared away the rubble they found
recycled stones to build the tomb for their
Abyssinian King and his English wife.
The French closed the merdersa in 1912
And in 2012 UNESCO declared all this hillside
henceforth, a heritage site. Tile-by-tile, archaeologists
re-pieced the mosaics – a hand, an eye staring from the dust,
While the storks from the top of the ruined minaret
throw their heads back and laugh.
And all day long tourists go up and down in time,
lean against a stone covered in vivid lichens,
down to the garden where in the shade the little brook
that has been for millennia says ‘water is life, water is life.’