Serail of a last prayer
Scrunching of oranges and backgammon pieces.
Covertness on the street. In the teahouse an old man
Lost himself. Eye-worn beads
breaking from a rosary. Tinkling
of prayers. In the background three bridges
branching off the Bosphorus.
It is too hot to sleep. He has a bottle of
cologne, his grey hair
smells of sweat and lemon. Tonight he will
drive his taxi and shyly ask passengers
for directions. In his mirror
the shadows of a nightlife
he cannot comprehend. His counter clicks.
His city is a city of streets and birds,
neighbours and flowers on wooden balconies.
This is elsewhere. His children will
ever leave it. One day they will
get him out of the teahouse while he just
dozed off, like today. It will be warm
and he will wake up
in a city with streets and birds and neighbours,
buzzing like wasps around a shot
of familiar sun. His hair will smell of lemon
his hand seek the rosary
and he will shyly ask us once more,
one last time, to lead the way
to this house, to this lost street.
Martijn Benders, from: ‘Karavanserai’, Nieuw Amsterdam Publishers, 2008
Soon available in my collection ‘Tract of the Sun’.