Hedy Habra

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Hedy Habra

Having Dinner at the Mosaica Restaurant in Prague

Mark Rothko’s Subway Series projects the onlooker onto each canvas alongside elongated
silhouettes of men and women oblivious of their surroundings as though immersed in their inner
world. As I entered these existential scenes as one of the isolated travelers, I was transported
back to my descent into Prague’s metro. Aware that I wouldn’t be able to pronounce any word in
Czech, I held on tight to a piece of paper with the name of the station. I kept trying to say these
words aloud just in case I’d lose it but every time I’d stop passers-by to check my pronunciation,
they would laugh and make me repeat the address.

The long descent in the metro’s steep escalator conjured up my worst nightmares. I kept checking
the other side of the escalator to make sure I could find my way up as I felt immersed in a movie
in which people were condemned to the underworld. I learned later that Prague’s fast-moving
escalators led to tunnels used for protection against nuclear weapons. I wasn’t comforted to face
the rush of people getting out of the compartment’s doors lost in thought as in Rothko’s paintings
and tried to ask someone if this metro was headed to the address on my paper. I arrived in time to
meet my poet friends at the Mosaica relieved that we would all return to the hotel together.

Hedy Habra reads “Having Dinner at the Mosaica Restaurant in Prague”


Hedy Habra is a poet, artist and essayist. She is the author of three poetry collections from Press 53, most recently, The Taste of the Earth (2019), Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award and Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award; Tea in Heliopolis, Winner of the Best Book Award, and Under Brushstrokes, which was a Finalist for the Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A twenty-one-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the net, and recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Award, her multilingual work appears in numerous journals and anthologies. https://www.hedyhabra.com/