by Grace Andreacchi
It was just a few days after Christmas and I was alone in Istanbul. The city was freezing cold, wrapped in a soft blue haze compounded of auto exhaust, spent fuel, the dense black smoke that spirals from the ancient ferries crossing the Bosphorus, and the small bonfires burning in the streets. Men stood huddled around these fires, mostly young men, though a few were older, and some of them wore red Santa hats. At night I lay in bed and listened to the melancholy call of the ships sounding their horns as they passed through the Golden Horn. Early in the morning, and at twilight, these mingle their voices with the long, drawn-out, heartrending cries of the muezzin. If you did not know these were calls to prayer you would surely take them for the wails of some abandoned lover.
Grace Andreacchi, author of Machine for Love, was born in New York in 1954, but has lived on the far side of the great ocean for many years - sometimes in Paris, sometimes Berlin, and nowadays in London. Works include the novels Give My Heart Ease (Permanent Press 1989), which received the New American Writing Award, and Music for Glass Orchestra (Serpent’s Tail 1993), the play Vegetable Medley (Soho Repertory Theater, New York and Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, Massachusetts), as well as numerous short stories and collections of poetry. Additional work can be viewed on her website.