East of Transylvania


‘I’m a failed Muslim.
I drink raki now,’ he says.
A bottle twinkles
on the upturned orange box.

On the unmade bed,
a punch-drunk pillow
lurches in a sea of ruptured quilts.

‘I never pray,’ he adds,
as hawk-eyed Ataturk
retreats to an ascetic frame
and glowers at the room.

And we who are too precious
to confess our faults
feel awkward in the silence.

Nevşehir, 1990.
First published in Blue Minaret.