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When I Tell My Father I Might Begin to Pray Again

ISSUE:  Summer 2017


He says he’s never really stopped
speaking to God. Says it’s in his DNA, asking
for things.

Twenty-one years he bowed before the bed, us
children in a row behind him
crushing our foreheads earnestly to the floor.

I can’t remember the last time
I clasped my hands above my breast and yearned for
God in that formal way,

but my father possesses an exact date—
Christmas, seven years back, the final jummah,
after which he walked out into the blinding

snow. O ye who believe! If there exists
in my blood a map, it is one I keep
folded for fear

of where it does not lead. God,
I want so badly
to speak

with you—not for aid or for proof of
my goodness, but to feel
again your presence

in my life, undeniably there
like my father’s hand on mine
in this still and inscrutable dark.




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