Wednesday 21 April 2021

Flash Fiction Micro Piece by Roisin Browne


The Adhan


He pulls the thin sheet back over his head, even though its loose threads scratch his face. Last night’s sweat frozen by the air con. Its rattling hum drops him back to the midnight cobbles of Al Balad. Terraced buildings of different heights, border the lanes, their fading fronts dressed in wooden latticed casings, and stand like an elegant dowager, reminding others of ancient grace.


The sweet, sharp, broiled aromas curl off hot food stalls, incense from bags of spice and nuts perfume the wakening night as the crowds wander and wear the long day’s heat like a familiar limb.


Beside the market, a hidden scrap of ground reveals men and boys around a street fire; the younger ones hold flat goatskin drums over the flames, then wave them cool, before they beat. Bodhráns, he thinks. Sticks thump air and skin, hands clap hands, voices follow, rise, quiver, fall, skin hot, parched breath. Almezmar. Another voice, to the right of him, points to the moving men and boys. Almezmar. He nods.


The air con rumbles, the sheet slips, orange light trickles through, the Adhan falls in, Jeddah’s chorus carries him, like winds on marram grass.



Roisín Browne lives in Rush Co Dublin and her work has appeared in The Galway Review, Flare, A New Ulster, Poetry N.I., Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, The Stony Thursday Book, MGV Datura, The Crossways Literary Magazine and The Lothlorien Poetry Journal. She placed third in the Jonathan Swift Writing Awards in 2017 and in 2018 was commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize. She has been shortlisted in the Bangor Literary Annual Poetry competition in 2018 and 2019.


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