We thank Ayqa Khan for use of her art. You can find Ayqa on Instagram, here.

I didn’t fast the day I was supposed to

or notice the distance between the little mole

flung between your eyebrows.

When it mattered most, the sky was indigo

the clouds became a kind of gauze

absorbing the blood-orange sun.

There’s a pilgrimage

happening, just now my mind went back to your hometown in Mississippi

did it have Blue-eyed Grass too? What were you dreaming of

the night of your departure? Millions of people will dress themselves in white garments and ascend upon a single mountaintop to recite: Here I am my lord, here I am.

Imagine, their voices drifting upward and away from the mountain, like dandelion seeds. Imagine

each year whispering on about you. I can’t

unwrap the parts of this that will haunt me forever,

from the parts of you that are holy.


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Sagirah Shahid is a Minneapolis-based poet who often writes about her upbringing as an African American Muslim woman. She has received awards for her writing from the Jerome Foundation, the Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


*This poem was originally published by Silverwood Park / Three Rivers Park District, and is included in their Poetry in the Park Trail.