Gaza City

Gaza City moaned. Voices without faces chanted Allah’s call to worship, 3:30 a.m. in Palestine—dawn in Mecca. I slept nude. Even the sheet was too warm. Throughout the city the sorrowful chants were answered in staggered repetition, like fugues. I fell back asleep and dozed through cocks crowing, doves cooing, birds chirping, and awoke soon after sunrise. In the early morning I loved sitting on my porch in a sundress, sipping a cup of tea. No one could see me and be scandalized. Islamic law dictated that a woman should be covered, and by the time the gate guard delivered my breakfast at 6:30 a.m., I was dressed in a long-sleeved cotton shirt and a blue linen jumper that dropped to my ankles.

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