Invitation to Prayer

The cold rim of the rakı glass
just touches my lips
when ezan, the invitation to prayer, explodes through the loud speakers of the mosque next to the restaurant.

Allah-ü ekber! Allah-ü ekber!
Some patrons stop eating;
some assume a respectful posture.
A few appear to murmur a prayer.
An elderly man gets up.
Is he going to join the believers,
or just to take a leak?
Most others keep eating, drinking and talking. Aniseed’s aroma teases my thirst.

My brother who sits across from me
plays with his humus
as if he were arranging a Zen sandbox:
Monks chant… a snowy calm
The gong… kisses… the air
Seduction… to prayer
This is all I can read from his lips.

La ilahe illallah.

The ezan stops.
A forceful silence fills the space.

I’m a Waif in my Homeland