After Guillaume Apollinaire
Here is a shelf with cookbooks, dictionaries,
Here is the cat.
Here is a cockroach the cat killed.
Here is the kitchen window, morning garbage truck.
Here in the bottom drawer of the freezer—compost overflowing eggshells.
Here is my hand in your hand.
Here is the power cord and the outlet that doesn’t work.
Here is Sunday.
Here, lunch—dal, rice, mango pickle.
Here in my pocket, three laundry quarters and a receipt.
Here is Amy Goodman on the radio.
Here is the war, the war, the war.
Here are my socks next to your socks.
Here are the bills and a post card with flamingos from Amir.
Here on the top shelf, my first hijab—blue, from decades ago.
Here, on the doorknob, the sun.
Here’s your blazer that’s sometimes my blazer.
Where is my phone?
I have to call my mother.
Here, a photo of us at Café Allegro. 11 years ago. Our hair long.
Here is my janamaz and the Quran.
Here is the vibrator.
Here, uff, the shower drain clogged again.
Here is our fifth apartment together.
Here are my eyes.
Look—how they rest in yours.
when you & I meet we inshallah for every tomorrow
every promise to return to reachacross the river down the highway over the next town
on the other side of the border through the booth the gate
it doesn’t matter whether or not you or I believein gods no God but God we call out inshallah
like newborns who thirst & swallow first breath of air
mouthful of milk knowing without learning the way eyes squint
against the sun or chin tilts upward toward lightfollows a mother’s face
inshallah what you are waiting for is coming letters documents
that cheque that yes that visa a gravel path leading to the sea
inshallah that text from the woman you ran into last nightwill glow in your pocket hey, coffee?
& even when the email in your inbox cuts your heart I’m sorry
to inform you we are unable to offer
to inform you we are unable to offer& you don’t get the job the loan
the rent-stabilized apartment or the lover ghosts youadmits to the lies the betrayal
somehow one of us still says inshallah hand on the other’s shoulder
eye into eye voice into ear over the phone
a shut door means it was never the wayinshallah elsewhere another door is being built with your name
& though you burn in embers of worry a pending biopsy
a dark cough eyes dilate as you read the diagnosis headlines
a cyclone in a cousin’s province the phone will ring inshallaha message in middle of the night yes, I’m okay I’m safe
even as the city’s left lung collapses no sign
of oxygen tanks or hospital beds street corners smoked with grief
alight with pyres we pray at the foot of every graveinshallah may you travel hereafter with ease
we march across boulevards shut down the streets
inshallah from the river to the sea Palestine will be free& we keep going you & I torso facing forward
our will muscled hooved galloping
unstoppable heart pumping steadybeating inshallah with trust across uncertain fields
In the Northwest Corner of America 1986
At the mosque before the mosque
there are no minarets no domes
just a house wooden
rental at the edge
of a city women
freshly permed or scarved
Zuhr prayer a song
the azan &
news from Kabul
a game of hide & seek
between parked cars & pine trees
children with a taste
for The Muppets & myths
from the Kingdom of Cham
courtyards in Lahore
& Brother Khaled from Chicago
who rolls his jeans tilts a black kufi
& Jaleela’s mom opening the screen door
with a platter of Ritz & slices
of Red Delicious my mother
in mustard sandals from JC Penny
cotton shalwar kameez & talk
of Falasteen once up on a time
the Battle of Badr
lessons from the Prophet
& have you tasted the salt of Kashmir
every Sunday shoulder to shoulder
Bismillahi Rahmanir Raheem
no trained imam just Amin Uncle
or maybe my father reciting
Al-Fatiha The Opening