(after Majnun Layla)
Love is not complicated.
I die among the rocks, the beasts,
shaded by your memory, Layla.
Shaded by your memory,
I roam this desert, tear
at my clothes, ramble until
I hear someone call, Layla.
I hear someone call, Layla,
and words beat their wounded wings
out of my heart, my mouth. When travelers ask
what I write in the sand, I tell them I live
inside the letters of your name.
Only inside the letters of your name—L-a-y-l-a—
I wake. I am halved, like a line of poetry:
here the silence, the sun scorches, my grave
calls, offers no forgetting; here the night,
named after you, cloaks me with hope
to go near your tent again.
To go near your tent again, to kneel
facing you, not Mecca. My father took me
to the Prophet’s grave, once,
said, Perhaps you’ll find another song.
I circled the Ka’aba, prayed, Layla, Layla.
I don’t want to heal from worshipping you—
let them call me majnun.
Call me majnun, Layla.
I freed gazelles from my trap because they reminded me of you.
What food for those already dead
of hunger? Tell me, did he
kiss you in the morning?
Let me, then, dive into the dark
flame of this night, this layla.