Every day, early in the morning
My father, who in his childhood
Had memorized all thirty parts of the Koran,
Would put the holy book on the reading cradle
And recite it with my mother
In their bedroom.
From the children's room
I would listen to their charming chant
And see a lonely prophet
Standing at the threshold of Hira cave
With a cape over his shoulders.
He chanted short Koranic verses
All starting with beautiful oaths:
By the moon and the sun
And the fig and olive trees,
By the Book and the Pen
And the gasping horses of dawn.
And yet I did not know that he,
As a law-giver and ruler,
would leave the mountain for the city
And Mecca for Medina.
There, in the tradition of the Old Testament,
He stoned the unruly women
And hanged the disillusioned youth
In the market place.
He let the sound of Koranic chant
Mingle with the shouts of holy raids
And the moans of the tortured.
Alas, Father died
And a hand wrote the date of his death
Inside our family Koran.
August, 19 2010
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