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SCARLETT originated as an occupation surname, designating a person who sold scarlet, a luxury wool cloth produced in Medieval Europe. The word is thought to derive from the Arabic siklāt, referring to silks dyed with kermes. The fanciest, favorited color was scarlet red.

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09.04.20 4/100 Days of Productivity

Sat out and soaked up the sunshine until I had to come in and work on my dissertation. Finished a chapter today!

The clapping in my neighbourhood is so loud, someone even let off fireworks! So thankful we have the NHS

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The lapping azure waves of her coast gently coax you near,

with an outstretched hand, she beckons you like a camel to the Nile,

like a starry-eyed foreigner to the image of a faraway land,

unaware that her greenery is draped in the illusion of a land small enough

to fit within the frame of a camera lens.

She is living, breathing poetry, rejoicing in her unmarred secrecy

Unabashedly joyful to call herself untouched, she finds comfort in the Red Sea

and the spikes on ripe beles, protecting her from harm’s way,

for she has seen the dangers of conquest; murder, rape,

blood, and mothers crying for lost children.

So this is her, Eritrea. A Saturday afternoon; August, 1999.

You drive along rocky roads, up mountains, over oceans and streams,

and your heart races at the beauty of it all.

A temperate breeze enters your grime-lined lungs and for once in your life, you breathe easily

and gulp air like you have never tasted anything sweeter.

Behind roasting coffee beans and tawny hides

there are an array of lowlanders silk, jewel-encrusted shades of

ruby, lavender, and saffron, colors so striking that you momentarily

mistake them for their namesake.

You buy them all for one hundred nakfa; this is how you let go of your shame.

Fighting for your attention, each good whispers “Buy me, foreigner –

I am the finest, the most luxurious!”

Soon, each whisper becomes a grating shriek,

a cacophony of greed, and you fight the urge to sink to your knees in pain.

You feel like that, you feel like letting your body melt into the hot sand,

like letting your head roll into the sea, fossilized in salt and cracked open like mussel, 

like being no more than one who was nothing more than once was.

Your bones would fertilize her soil, your flesh sacrificing being for stasis,

a state she has made you envy – you hope she will show you how.

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