I am supposed to begin
with prayer. A snippet
of tongue. Bismillah. If
I am feeling Arab
I extend further
into r-rahmani r-rahim.
Sometimes that means
when I am most scared.
In the name of God the
Most Gracious, the Most
Merciful I make my tea,
ease my soreness, prep
for sleep. How religious
I sound when in truth
it is one of the few phrases
I know as well as English.
In the grip of a nightmare
it is to Arabic I return
for solace. The scraps
I have left. It is enough
to awaken to sweat.
I fear repetition, that
I might wear the sacred
out of language. Rub
the holy off my mouth.
What then will I face
the devil with in the dark?
Our shared loneliness?
Ask me to love him, I dare
you. I might. I know I must
not go with only this lark,
this irreverent song, spells
empty of heft—this speech
contains only myself, &
nothing of God’s name.

Find out more about Omar Sakr as part of QPF2017 here.

Omar Sakr

Author: Omar Sakr

Omar Sakr is an Arab Australian poet. His poetry has been published in English, Arabic, and Spanish, in numerous journals and anthologies including: Griffith Review, Wildness, Overland, Meanjin, Island, Cordite Poetry Review, The Best Australian Poems 2016, Contemporary Australian Poetry, Antic, and Circulo de Poesía. Runner-up in the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, he has also been shortlisted for the ACU Poetry Prize and the Story Wine Prize. He is the poetry editor of the Lifted Brow and his debut collection, These Wild Houses, is out now.