On the occasion of Usama Dakdok’s anti-Islam speech on 5/27/2016
What to do when words are hurled at you like sharp-edged stones,
words like damnation and sin,
and the windows of the church in front of you are glass,
and the hurler of the words
doesn’t seem to really believe them anyway, yet
still throws them into the crowd:
former Muslim now born again, trying to blend in
in a town so white it’s hard
to look at without rubbing your eyes and then squinting?
Inside the glass the speaker’s
prayer repeats: evil religion, dark, not like us,
while outside where it’s raining
this young man spits out the word homosexual so
harshly some of us suspect
we know what he’s hiding. We’re not here to fight with him.
Tell me please. What would you do?
One woman steps up and then offers her hand to him,
hope balancing on a pin
for a moment until it passes and the country
resumes again its business
as he pages through his Bible searching for a place,
then points up and accuses:
“how many of you are remorseless fornicators?”
Maybe two dozen of us
remain, packing up protest signs and saying goodbyes;
even the old nuns who’d sung
badly We Shall Overcome, all of us raise our hands.
Illustration Nick Victor