The smoke starts sighing, sorrowing deeply.
Repentant tears are an expected result of the sad breath playing on my eyes.
The death- dirge plays and the sound is crackling, crumbling paper and prayers carried to Creator, whispered, but not understood by mortal minds and earthly ears.
I breathe the prayer in, and add a line of my own, before letting it out and watching it ascend like the incense of old.
The leaves of tabbaq are wrapped together in the arms of flax and esparto, in a morbid embrace- and a cruel irony.
But the kindly leaves pass on my prayers.
They speak to me only with their dying breaths.
They have no voice before they are given the filter that interprets their speech and tells me secrets.
But they speak for themselves, and they have a lovely singing voice.
When they are old and grey, I let them pass with dignity, under the heel of my shoe.
And attempting to follow the teaching of the Saint, I light one prayer after another- without ceasing.
by George Callihan