David Casts a Long Shadow

Three niches punctured a wall of the house
To contain our weighing historical selves
“A cross and a rihaal,” you said to me
“Or one rosary?” I shrugged not knowing.
You wanted a crucifix; I sought paint –
White bulbs installed in tinted mauve niches.
We couldn’t arrive at an agreement
So we hung our only picture on the wall
That was enough dichotomy.

-x-

“Can you recite the Lord’s prayer?” you turned,
and tilted your head in eagerness.
“And you the Qalima?” I responded.
What was I to say? Was it Sabbath day?
One for Jews? One for Muslims? One for us?
We hardly left home; travelling within,
Praying inversely, sensing our becoming,
Hiding ourselves, in case He was watching,
In case He loved us, like we did each other.

-x-

“Do you know the story of David?” you asked
Watching me read books by other Davids.
“I can’t recall his name in Arabic”
I replied; not looking up, not meeting
your eye, the gaze of your disappointment.
I wish I could say I didn’t imagine
You’d confess about us on a Sunday
About waking up to me in your arms.
I wasn’t a sin; I was incongruous.

-x-

“So what happened to David’s story?”
“His son died in the war of Lebanon.”
You had the look of incredulity.
“The brother and sister separated?”
I blurted. You laughed and kissed my mouth.
I kissed back, because that’s what I did best.
Better than brewing your favorite tea.
Better than watching you chew on your nails.
Better than leaving you behind, alone.

-x-

One night I watched you come home to someone,
who believed in the inexplicable.
As we made love like never before, I asked
“What kind of a God is so inconsistent?”
A shadow flickered in your deep black eyes
And the look said, it was my time to leave.
I wanted to take our picture. So I did.
“As long as there is a consistent hell,
I will believe in your undecided,
unresolved love, all over again.”

-x-

P.S.:

  1. This post title is, obviously, not from a song. Had to depart from the regular post titles this time.
  2. Falling Out of Time by David Grossman
  3. Ironfire (or The Sword and the Scimitar) by David Ball

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