Slouching Towards Ijtihad
I remember you telling me about the war
a grey cotton dress and a letter written in Dari
you would never read.
of the waves holding you under the loss of youth
the sense that nothing is lyrical.
I cannot name
the nightmares or the girl who had been
hit by a sniper’s bullet.
There were days when these things took their toll
the hijrah within you walked too closely
to the divisions of simplicity
the devastations to the Sufi doctrine
the mountaintops back home
the revelations that revive the dispossession.
You were afraid of your people
your ummah in exile and the loss that comes
for ordinary believers
afraid that God remains in actions
even in life away from the divine
the constantly occurring
change of qiblah.
We are both children of Radio Armenia
painting the sky with doves in the movie seen together
through the tears welling carving “it was all in vain”
on the gravestones of the uneducated
the light coming through your body with a star in your hand
to explain our way of reacting to the world.
Joey Sheehan is a poet from Baltimore, Maryland. His first collection, New Queer Cinema and Other Poems, was published locally in 2015. He is a graduate of the University of Baltimore creative writing MFA program.