Egyptian Legacy

— David Eisbach

I’ve been to Egypt and seen the pyramids at Giza,
the great temples of Karnak, Luxor
and the temple at Abu Simbel.
I’ve risen before dawn to beat the day’s heat,
but I never escaped the army of vendors.
Of those hundreds, who pushed postcards,
scarab, ankh, papyrus or guide books into my face,
one received my verbal outcry of anguish.
The man, who wore the traditional galabeya,
had a deeply bronzed face, angular cheekbones and
eyes the color of burnt umber.
With an expression of hurt and disappointment,
he said, I shouldn’t raise my voice in anger against people,
who were brethren, whose lives take a different path to survive.
They too have dignity and deserve respect.
I’ve been scolded, berated, chided, corrected, lectured and cajoled
by parents, relatives, siblings, drill instructors, coaches, sergeants
and priests, but I was never so moved as by this gentle man.
I was humbled and I profusely apologized.
We parted company for life, but his words stayed with me.
It tempers my judgment and actions. Part of me wonders
If he were part of the protests in Tahrir Square,
finally having had enough?
But that also tells me
that I, personally, have some way to go.

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