Foreigner’s Etiquette

Silhouettes of olive branches darken
the pale walls in a tavern along the mountain

she sits with a glass of arak,
liquor, water, ice cubes mixed together

the only customer in this village restaurant
A belly dancer shakes her hips at the woman,

colourful beads sway around her waist;
the dancer drops a veil down the woman’s back,

pulls it around her shoulders
It tickles the nape of her neck

she turns from the dancer’s swinging breasts,
her cheeks redden as she looks down at her plate

the stuffed grape leaves, taboulleh, hommus
maza served before the roast leg of lamb

She doesn’t know how to say
I don’t eat meat in Arabic.

~ Sonia Saikaley

Sonia Saikaley lives in Ottawa, where she writes amidst the chaos and joy of everyday life. Her work has appeared in Urban Graffiti, Black Cat 115, Zygote, the anthology Burning Ambitions, FreeFall, and Bywords Quarterly Journal. She is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers.

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