through the door, or Cousin Fowzi and Aunt Muna entered with welcomes and a basket of oranges, everyone stood up, hugged, kissed, exclaimed, patted, and went through the entire cycle again.
    “I think I’m getting hypnotized,” Rafik said.
    Then Aunt Saba, which Poppy said meant “morning,” appeared carrying a large brass tray filled with steaming glasses of musky-smelling tea—
—an herb good for the stomach. Rafik drank five glasses. Back home he could drink a whole bottle of cranberry juice by himself at one sitting.
    The grocer showed up, and the postmaster, and the principal of the village school, and the neighbor, Abu Mahmoud, who grew famous green beans, and all of their wives and babies and teenagers and cats.
    But the extra visitors left just as a huge tray of dinner appeared, hunks of baked lamb surrounded by rice and pine nuts. The remaining family members gathered around to dig into it with their forks. Poppy asked if his family could have individual plates since they weren’t used to eating communally.
    Aunt Amal brought out four plates of different sizes and colors. Liyana’s was blue, with a crack. Her aunt looked worried, as if she might not like it. Liyana ate a mound of rice and onions and sizzled pine nuts, but steered clear of the lamb.
    Sitti kept urging Liyana, through Poppy, “Eat the lamb.” She said Liyana
needed it
. Poppy told her Liyana was a very light eater, a big lie of course, but convenient for the moment. Rafik was drinking soupy yogurt, one of his two thousand favorite food items. “I’m recovering,” he whispered to Liyana. “I’m feeling better now. Who is that guy and why does he keep waving at me with his ball?”
    Rafik and their animated cousin Muhammad stepped into Sitti’s courtyard to play catch in the glow from a single bright bulb, but Liyana felt too tired, suddenly, to follow them. Sitti asked Poppy some questions about Liyana—Liyana could tell because they both stared at her as they talked. Now and then her name cropped up in their Arabic like a little window. But she couldn’t see through it. She thought she could close her eyes and sleep for two days. Even her watch felt heavy on her arm. It was 10 P.M. She hadn’t taken it off since they left Missouri—how many time zones had they crossed by now?
    Liyana tried to be polite to everyone by smilingand tipping her head over to one side so they couldn’t tell if she were saying no or yes. How long would it take till they knew one true thing about her?
    Voices in the village streets bounced off stone walls. They rose into the night sky like kites, billowed, and disappeared. A
gave the last call to prayer of the day over a loudspeaker from the nearby mosque and all the relatives rose up in unison and turned their backs on Liyana’s family. They unrolled small blue prayer rugs from a shelf, then knelt, stood, and knelt again, touching foreheads to the ground, saying their prayers in low voices. They didn’t mind that Liyana’s family was sitting there staring at them. When they were done, they rolled up the rugs and returned to sit in the circle.
    “Poppy,” Liyana whispered, touching his hand. “Did you ever pray the way they pray?”
    “Always—in my heart.”
    Sitti told Poppy she was going to make a pilgrimage to Mecca this year for sure, especially if he would give her money to ride the bus. Tayeb the Elder asked for money to install a shower in his new bathroom and Uncle Hamza said he could really use a stove and suddenly everyone was asking for things, voices tangling together as Poppy translated. He looked more and more uncomfortable.Soon he turned toward their mother, saying, “When the talk gets to money, we get rolling,” and he stood up.
    He said they were so exhausted their heads were falling off. They needed to return to Jerusalem to their hotel immediately. Some angry grumbling erupted because the older relatives thought they should be sleeping in the village with their

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