They all followed her, mesmerised,
to the sooty innards of the kasbah
slanting up the side of the hill
as if fleeing an ancestral tsunami.
Confronting the steppe, its echo,
towering above it, the city was
doubly castled, with slit avenues
breaking free of the older town.
Apple-tree covers along the walls,
mountains holding on the roots
of the seemingly endless steppe,
it was a shape-shifting, eerie place.
Then the voice of the beggar called.
Now soft, now commandeering, with
chanted words and many tones, it
drew them underground to a catacomb.