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.
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.