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Magdala on the Via Maris
hosted the caravans;
Egyptian traffic”glass in ingots,
ivory, lapis, apricots,
papyrus, ostrich-feather fans;

the Magdalenes laid out their fish
for salting near the inns;
behind the fly-specked drying racks
day and night the willing women
catered to the Bedouins;under the towers of the town
the virgins and the wives
spun and wove and dyed the flax”
Magdala’s celebrated linen
smooth as young flesh: Crowds of lives”

the merchants and maids, the easy girls,
the cityful who spun”
who salted fish”and maybe one
remembered, and the rest are gone
into oblivion.