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.




John Krumberger
Illustration Nick Victor



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