To be a witness
Was never my intent

As I turned the cobbled corner
I saw the muted crowd
I saw the fatted calf
Facing toward the sacred place

A hammer descended
A blade sliced quickly through
Prayer and song arose

As blood flooded the concrete
The smell of death
Surged through my noseĀ 

I made my way shakily to my home
Past hovels of whitewashed stone

Soon the imam will lose the sight
Of the thread of black and thread of white
The minarets will glow their praise
The call to prayer will flow and raise
All hearts to celebration.

The gathered faithful will share the food
With those of lesser fortune
While I, cringing uneasily
With queasy stomach,
My evening meal.

IstanbulĀ  1985

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