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.


“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.


“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.


“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.


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.”



  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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