Muharram upon Muharram

all the fervour,
that mighty swell
of my glorious heart

sweet promises of 

year after year 
Muharram upon 

that I make, and make 
those I break, break 
and break

wherein does it lie
this so-called memory
of Aba Abdillah al-Husayn

in the adl, the justice 
that I do not mete?

or does it lie in
the envy that I have 
made forever mine

in my weeping, unabashed 
this self, obsessed
with itself

perchance is it in
the righteousness that 
is not mine to aim away

at those whose stories 
I do not know?

the nauseating
ways in which I yearn 
for this, and that

anger and jealousy 
fire and scalding heat 
His displeasure

or maybe in the truth
I have been exchanging 
for these ambiguities

hiding away behind 
intentions I am unable 
to clean up and conquer

am I striving enough, 
in fact, have I been 
striving at all?

imprudence, I fend
with blatant arguments
of the one, the only, intellect

how could I forget modesty
and desires that leave (oh) 
so many goose bumps

the akherah, my fancy 
pursuit that is at best 
a mere mediocre

as I fumble, fumble 
and stumble, 

quantifying day in,
and quantifying day out 
quantum worship?

and then in His 
infinite mercy, He 
reminds me of all else

the sweetness, of bitter 
bitter tears, a two-part mix 
of bitter bitter mourning

for the children
of Karbala, and also for 
my own, flailing self

the sacrifices that were made 
so that you and I could bask 
in freedom of religion

in true knowledge 
and wisdom of the 
Noble Qur’an

of the pure and 

fall seven times 
stand up

practice away,
and practice free, 
and most importantly

practice as 
it should 

Oh Zahra,
we will never 
forget Husayn. 

A version of this was first published for Wali ul Asr Learning Institute, in their fifth annual poetry competition.

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