Dome Of The Rock, Israel

The shine of the dome
hushing the hills,
resonates a song
like a beating heart makes
when in deep meditation.

The columns incubate the shoes
scattered by the worshipers' haste
to get inside and bow away their heads.

Against the arches,
without uttering a prayer
stand the mosaics.
Their golden embroideries
pacify every sense.
Decant the sins.

The men,
bellies against their god
slump into their spines.
Their beards' shadows
halo in reverence.

These aren't very religious men
and their knowledge of scripture
is anecdotal at best.

Each could use
the administration of a wife,
would benefit
from having his politics muzzled.

They mimic
what the one in front of them shouts
and spent of breath
bring their hands together
in a physical sign of completion.

The mats are picked up
just as the bells
rush across their bodies
and shake the walls.

The sound their breath makes
is like that a gentle rain makes
watering a garden.
Someone opens the doors,
the light lifts them up by the shoulders.

Once on their feet
they follow their staggering eyes
out into the courtyard,
put on their shoes
as if some sort of psychic penance
then head out into work's arms,
ankles stiff, eyes yanked toward the sky.