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[36] M o s q ue Past sundown you bring me here, my first time inside a mosque. Men sitting cross‑legged on the floor beside their teacher briefly look up at us, then turn back, on fire to hear the word. You ramble on in praise of Muslim art, exquisite painted tiles, floral carvings in teak, your speech articulate as a docent’s, beauty your God. Abruptly a young man kneeling on the carpet flings his body flat, arms stretched out to the divine unseen. Not even ecstasy stops you. I blush for your blind spot, my complicity. Your handkerchief keeps slipping from my hair. We exit through doors whose workmanship you extol. Lilacs are dying in the garden. [37] I’m reminded of a curious dream: a white mosque in moonlight, the dome luminous, the cut-outs in stone intriguing as the labyrinth in Chartres. I saw it as if looking down with a bird’s eye, swirls of sculpted openwork inviting me in. A dream I’ll never tell you. Tonight the wind on the Potomac is tearing up the moon’s reflection as if it were a painful photograph, scraps of light riding the dark water, tossing and grieving. ...


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MARC Record
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