Who Are You, Brother?

—by Asnia Asim—

Who are you, brother, with your gun at my temple,
in your suicide vest, are you the reformer
who received dream instructions from God
to extinguish a handmaiden of the West?
But I am like you a mere elision of sun letters,
extant poetry of the Persianate, a seed misplaced
from the city of palms. I am the mist between Damascus
and Euphrates, an arboreal guest of the fruitless tree.
My blood will not deliver the soliloquy of your sacrifice,
it won’t free your slender ribs from misled courage,
I can only hold your hand and hope to walk through
the pyre unburned, sit long enough with you
and become charged as wine that muddles memory.
Before you untangle the latent motives of our bodies,
walk with me through the sacred house of God
inscribed in us and contemplate the golden verses
across its pall, my wingless warrior, I wish to just once
get lost in the abstractions of power with you,
to be uncertain about the limits of physicality,
to recite the name of the God whose greatest name
is bread and water and new clothes
for your mother, to a place where it is understood
without explanation that we, the slain, will not
be the passive victims of your fury, but active
exchangers of life ablaze.