These days are sadness at its most vivid.
You have, at dawn, at dusk, the prayer call,
the Ezan , the Takbir and the Shahada sung
like smoke caught in the heat of the throat,
a prayer-wisp, a delicate meandering.

Then the bells from St. Sophia will start.
Their self regard rattling the valley
with sudden gusts, a pressure change
of sounds hanging at their temperatures,
the clatter of a looming summer squall.

That’s the hurt calling you across the valley.
There’s nothing to do but drink it in;
it will or won’t be waiting, but you, you
for the very first time You, have wet skin
and drying eyes, the glitter-kiss of first rain
dancing on the pavement, the roll of thunder

like laughter, coming when you least expect it.

Matthew Henley’s first collection, Beetle, was published in 2014 by Templar. He currently lives in Sarajevo.

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