I stand beside my window
waiting for the call to prayer,
waiting like a lover
for a glimpse of the beloved
against a sky dark as plum skin
dark as the center of an unsplit fruit.
I search the empty streets
where only cats
and the shadows of cats
prowl on padded feet.
The stars have gone some other place
and he has not come.
And then a thread of honey,
a shaft of light from the throat of a man
unrolls in script above the rooftops
and my soul expands.
They say people sometimes fall in love
with the mu'addhin
who sings most beautifully.
First one voice then a second
now vie for my devotion,
from two quarters of the city
they sweep over and under
the silent longing in me, a chord
drawing me beyond the sill, this street,
high above my wrinkled pillowcase.
Awake my heart,
and love what is:
the god of alley cats and damp stones,
the god of dawn, the god of men who sing.
Prayer is better than sleep.
E. D. Watson