In a poor Istanbul neighborhood,
At the ground floor of our house,
My great-grandmother says:
It is time for morning prayer.
If you pray, she says, pure as a child,
From this corner of the room,
An angel will appear.
I am five years old closing my eyes.
Essallamü alleykü ve rahmetullah.
I am fifty opening my eyes.
In Boston, Massachusetts,
In a not so poor neighborhood
At the top floor of our house
Praying my morning prayer.
From that corner of the room,
My great-grandmother appears.
Boston, MA. 1997. This poem is printed here with the permission of the author.
Listen to Adnan Onart’s On Being interview, “Revealing Ramadan.”