Riding the Midnight Express to Tangier
for William Wertz
We boarded the train in Rabat
a classic lst class compartment
with wooden seats
plush to ourselves.
My fevered body no match
for the burning North African desert
on a desperate run
seeking medicine for dysentery.
Tremulous with chills, brain fogged,
our unscheduled stop
in the sandy void
birthing a hallucination.
The moonlit white robes,
a shimmering mirage of Bedouins
flooding the train
streaming to our seats. My disordered mind
invented a headline, Two Travelers Murdered.
Waving his woven Peruvian bag
that held camera and film
Bill weaved a web of brilliant threads
swathing the cabin in swirls of color
a delusional texture so dense
it scattered the intruders.
As the train entered Tangier
we witnessed the conductor
collecting copper coins from the nomads,
the desert stop
a simple bribe
benefiting both tribes.
About the Author
Roger Camp lives in Seal Beach, CA, where he muses over his orchids, walks the pier, plays blues piano, and spends afternoons reading under an Angel’s Trumpet with a charm of hummingbirds. When he’s not at home, he’s photographing in the Old World. His work has appeared in Spillway, Slant, North American Review, Pank, Southern Poetry Review, and Nimrod.