Friday, December 3, 2010


Yesterday, Ismail’s wife Ali was accused of adultery.
I don’t know if she did it, but Ismail has always been a bit of an ass.
That is not important, though.

What struck at my heart
was the sight of her
being led away through the souk.

For she did not go with her head hanging,
hiding her face from the crowd,
whimpering and wincing when the widows spit on her.

No. She moved through the souk as if carried on a palanquin,
her head held high, her eyes fixed on some distant horizon
visible only to her.

It was the damndest thing, and I cannot explain it
but she seemed to glow as she moved
and the widows froze with their spittle still on their tongues.

The sight of her face, rigid as stone
Yielding to no emotion, without even a hint of shame
Is burned into my brain and my inner eye cannot look away.

Najat knows now that he has seen Majesty.
It was placed within all creatures by Allah
and blazes forth when it is least expected.

It consumes all pretense, all injustice, all unrighteousness
in its indiscriminating fire, and it has nothing to do
with heredity or wealth or armies or land

or gold
or sceptors
or crowns.

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