Wednesday, February 3, 2021

salat to define the terms of ritual by Dujie Tahat

salat to define the terms of ritual

A calling, a culling, a billowing
minaret banner, a cigarette starter thrown
out a moving car window to prove a point.
Rapt, trapped, evangelical
about the whole thing
really, hinged
on guilt and hoping
you’ll sign the papers before
the door slams shut.
In lieu of communion, Father
crosses my forehead.
has somehow escaped the mouth,
and now we’re discussing sincerity.
All this searching for my heart to be broken.
               [prostration again]
You’ll sleep when you die,
but form is death. The gap
between          every prayer
is sleep. The joke is: no such
thing as sleep.
                           Dead be dead.
On bare feet, on upturned
buckets, on an ice block
bombing down grassy
terraces, tears blessing
the angles of our return.
In our good clothes, shoulder
to shoulder in the pew,
in a broken down Chrysler
miles and miles from home.
               [salam alaikum]
Back to the work, if you’re lucky,
hands unblemished still with grace.

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