Tuesday Poem by Sheikha A.

An-Nur Al-Ain: Nakheelun Jameel

When Medina was being blessed like a land that awaits
respite after being trampled on, people stood like nakheels,

backs confident in their verses of loyalty. Shoulders
prostrated like they were the knees for that hour, palms

joined as if in a meeting of destinies. The first call
of obedience is the Azaan. The order that ensues

is the striking of the sun’s light against waning traces
of darkness. We will sing the Sana’a in the early calm,

like the way the Holy One was greeted, by joyous
feet skipping in their sandals that no longer feel the hot

skin of the sand. A caravan was formed:
nakheels, the dutiful, the shaheed, the haters of drum-rolls;

they place their hips on the ground in the way
of pressing their ears to the sounds of fallacy, the trance

of gushing khamar. And like how jamals walk in rows,
nakheels grow close to their brothers. They gather

seeds at the base of their roots, protecting what is
that shall ultimately sprout as what was. Ancestry is

like a battleground where men on opposing ends
stand in eternal waiting, listening to the tambourine

jingle like the dainty waist of a slave. The silent footsteps
of the man, weaving a crowd of men, his light a force

of the star of heaven, born much before the advent
of earth. Holy One, where you stand, jabals convert

to toors; your call awakens extinguished flames,
and riddles the silence with a gap, long just enough

to not be prolonged, short just enough to be conditioned.
This is probably how we learn shukr: an act of continuance,

an act of a mended tasbeeh, an act of an aging nakheel.
The tamars are plucked, ripe/unripe, they know their growth

is under the direct rays of a teaching sun. My hips
are the rose bearing splinters in its stem. I wait

for the sky to turn into a land of crimson grass; the moment
when walls will mean truce; a Single Breath will handle

us like a process of dispersal; we shall find our ordained
ground; we shall peel the shell of our seed; the soil will part;

we shall line in rows; convert to roots; grow until our fronds
can no longer feed the generations lessons of praise;

that will be then; the time of brown hisaans arriving
at our doors, their rikaabs awaiting our grasp, and their backs

of jewelled saddles calling us to sit on our designated throne.
The call will be sacred. The hand on the other side, nurturing.