I am the lady who climbs the cherry tree
Like a child to scrape a knee,
And breaks a bow or two or three
And braids them well. One wreath for me
Somber and dark of face, I carry
Hence, bearing forth my grief to the sea---
Where loose blossoms with ashes we loose into the lee.
What words could come, what words were planned
Fly well and out and past my hand
With the wreath I toss past the soggy slope of sand,
And all are sucked out to sea, beyond the narrow strand.
There tall red sails draw the eye, burning like a brand,
And a sure light on the horizon mocks the silver shore of land.
So instead, to the rocks I bow my head to heaven and I pray
While condolences most kind, against my eardrums, bray
And every commendation of him, seems to flay
My throat to shreds, and turns my mouth to clay.
“From the path or righteousness, let me not stray”
I mutter while on that shore they leave me splay
Myself to my creator, who my companions all seek to pay
A moment of recollection, or to understand upon this day,
When one wonders why each man walks his way
And why this good man’s path led him early to this narrow bay
And out of it, furled in burning sails, in a cloud of grey,
Trailed by a stream of petals.“Mortals all, who can say?”
Call me shameful Muslimeen, for I let them, this line say.
For all thoughts in my mouth are hay
And should I speak the truth plainly now, I’d neigh---
Not justify all that heaven may.
Which is never sung. And the cold and rains begin to weigh
And those who’d come, their respects to pay
Would go away, but in respect they seek for this, my yea.
And so I nod, and with a crown of sand upon my brow, still seem fey
To the fisher folk who stand upon the village quay,
Despite the headscarf and thin dark Arab robe I wear in May.
And I am ushered into a dark car, and away.
The rains slide down the windows, and the heaters blow,
And my family speaks of all the places that human spirits go...
And I am just the lady who climbed the cherry tree to make a bow,
Of branches. Like my grief, and the wreath, I simply watch the water flow,
And my words come back again in faith, and there, contented, grow.
Thus do I tell myself, I am content with what I know.
And what I know not?: Let the most Merciful, and the Most Just bestow.