Jon Horton
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Inshallah

It is dusk on a ridge blasted black
by desert sun
and night is falling fast here
above the Frankincense Road

On my right a cool and newly risen moon
lights soft the lofty limestone scarp
I’ve come here to explore

On my left a hot and red and dusty sun
drops into the sands of Sheba
the dunes of el ramlyat sabaean
into the dun hills of Yemen

I have come here
desperate for something to do
to this gouged-out hill
to a salt mine old as the name of God
stepped down
and down
and down
begun with hand tools
worked forever in that same old way
and burdened camels sway down the trail
at the end if this grief laden day

Behind that red and dusty molten sunset
in the green and impossibly distant west
my father lies dying

I raise my broken voice to the ancient
biblical sky and cry ancient desperate tears
for I am Absalom and my father will be ashes
before I am finally home

Squatting in the timeless dusk
my vigilant and armed askari wait

The muzzles of their guns
filigree their silhouetted shapes
as they patiently sit and smoke
talk quietly and respectfully of my fate

Born to a knowledge that I have come
so far to find

The meaning of inshallah

 

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Jon Horton

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