Linda McMullen

“…like a retreat,” you insist, gesticulating, as we land at a naked airport kissing the Saharan rim.  

I conclude that you’d meant for us to go to Tunisia. To deconstruct my failings. Reconstruct five years.

Then/or failing that, to take refuge in touring Star Wars locations.  

You’ve taken us a little to the left. Not for the first time.

The Algerian villa owners offer sweet mint tea. They ask no questions.

We drive wordlessly into the dunes. We tiptoe amid ancient cities smothered in ochre dust. Perfection – once.  

You offer me a sand rose.  

It crumbles in my hand.

Linda McMullen is a wife, mother, diplomat, and homesick Wisconsinite. Her short stories and the occasional poem have appeared in over ninety literary magazines. She received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations in 2020. She may be found on Twitter (@LindaCMcMullen).