Today is not just one cup of black coffee after another.

Today, I have enough melancholy stacked on top
of more melancholy to climb up a sad stairway,
out of my down-in-the-dumps, here – into
the snow-covered mountain peaks of the Hindu Kush.

I should be wearing warm hiking boots & a wool coat
but I am barefoot & dressed in a white cotton bathrobe.

From a distance, I might appear to be a pilgrim
returning from the Hajj, still dizzy with elation
from circling the Kaaba & kissing the black sacred stone.

I am not a Muslim. I know this is childish of me
but prayer rugs make me think of flying carpets.

My coffee needs to be reheated.  It cooled quickly in the thin air.

I am staring at the parking lot through my kitchen window
when I realize I haven’t polished my car in years.

Muslims believe the remembrance of God polishes
the human heart to reflect divine light lest their hearts
remain tarnished by selfishness.

I also believe the sacred spit & elbow grease
of prayer makes the human heart shine.

The human memory, however, is a different story.

Regardless of religion, it can hold a spirit captive for years
like the jinn in the lamp that Aladdin rubbed.

Scheherazade could not recall any of the tales after she told them.

I remember the fabled Sindbad tying meat to his back
so the Rocs unknowingly lift him out of the valley of diamonds.

I buff the outside of my coffee cup with the sleeve of my robe.

There is a flurry of wings.  I am overlooking the Khyber Pass.

Image credit:Jay Dougherty

I have one book of poetry published in Tucson by Moon Pony Press in 2009 titled, The Certainty of Looking Elsewhere. My poetry has been published in numerous small presses including: Dark Horse, Gargoyle, 6ix, Tor House Newsletter, The Moth & Zocalo Magazine.