A Muslim, Christmas

By | 1 May 2021

The streets are empty-ish.
Ish is for my body, the faithless
and lonely. I head toward
departure. Long one-eyed spectres
hunch over the earth
and each tree has around it
a darker deeper life.
Few shops are open: solitary
yellows adorn a doorway
or two amid dormant heavens
(I call any abundance heaven now)
saying welcome in Mandarin
and later, Arabic.
I move past the beckoning oasis.
I am not looking for a home
all prior attempts failed—
I aim to find the heaven of me,
the we who linger
at stations to hear a loop of human
voices skip over silence
or sink into it, to relish
the ripple that makes absence
visible. We move through
enormity and feel our edges
obvious and crowdless
with the hand of an ancestor, perhaps
brushing the backs of our necks
so we tilt up
to see a migrantory heaven
pummel the sky and disappear.

Elsewhere, beloveds
gather, ready to unwrap
a gift beneath
the semblance of a tree
or the memory of pine, still green,
and though I have one
a family I mean a queerness
I cannot abide leaving
the city without a body
to trouble its making.
I have no destination
in mind—how sacred it is,
this not knowing, how divine
to walk in this world as an ish.

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