poetry By Melanie Swetz Late Comer Line Up At the Border The muezzin rose late started his calls later than the others whose strains already filled the thin air before his deep baritones could wake the birds or contain the pre-dawn silence to command the sun rise Cars, frankensteined to hold weapons, bump over ravines to the camp’s white canvas flaps of surrender. Like circus clowns, the men pour out needing to fight the transplanted. They line up at the border standing apart, together in a solidarity of green fatigues and guns. The limits of hospitality: stretched razor wire; Turks-Syrians stand, unstable as water insults shout over tents pinned on ground once empty, he had wanted to be first to strain his voice louder earlier more forcibly but now berated himself for being the last the much later than the more loudly than early callers to their indigo moon signaling like a lantern compelling recitations offered to sleepers now rising up in obedient bending over to the layered repetitions of competitive praying hands cocoon the ears to hold in the phrases of faith the paragraphs the essays of sound for the souls’ souls written on the risen paper voices poured from minarets the loudest calls predominate to overlap the johnny-come-lately last in line caller-out to all who finishes as he started — late. “Our ground!” which now breathes refugees. The men shoot off their mouths, too scared to do anymore, angry at the dispossessed who invade them without stop, testing how far arms can be spread in embrace. Let someone else take in the strays of politics do their wash, dig lime pits for their shit, “We’re tired of how they smell, tired of giving their children horse-hair blankets, or shoes or solace from famine. Our children eat dates instead of meat, meat reserved for foreign bellies. Allah! Allah! Wring your hands, tear your beards! Such injustice - the daily bread of us!” After a while, they pile back into their cars to thump their chests, expel the air of their guzel yurt - their beautiful homeland - for the lungs of those without one, from lungs clogged with the status quo of hurt.