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  • Writer's pictureaeraustol

Cario, Egypt

Something about the Islamic prayer

Reverberating in the dusty

boney dog and cat infested

sweet potato food cart courtyard

outside the hospital,

woke me up every single

night for a week and a half.

The tone was harsh

and spoke some emotional

language I couldn’t tolerate or understand

at first,

until I realized it was translating


the language of my heart

fully alive to

my brother’s


in the hospital across

the street from my hotel.

And I’d cry.

The way I cry in my car alone

To Dustin Tebutt’s song

“First Light” when

I want to purposely

draw out the grief

of leaving my old

life behind.

When the Norwegian threads

In me yank at my insides

Like the prick of being stitched

up after giving birth.

Or when I sat on my

1o-year-old son’s bed

two summers ago.

He told me all the memories

of our family vacations

on Ocracoke.

While he raged and told me

I’d ruined his life.

Tell me more, I repeated,


I began to crave the prayer,

Those nights I spent in the

Swiss Inn Cairo Hotel.

I would turn over and lay flat on my back

from my fetal position.

And tell my heart,

Be brave, Motherfucker.

You will not die.

The same thing I tell

myself in a plane

when the ride becomes bumpy:

This plane is made

for turbulence.

60 views3 comments


Oct 25, 2022

Powerful and moving, AE. Excellent work. I love it.

Apr 05, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, Dad.


John House
John House
Oct 18, 2022

I love this poem. Beautifully written.

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