The Hurt

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    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.