Holy Defense and Other Poems


Holy Defense

We were assigned straight to the lion’s muzzle,
the Sardasht front. Third day, a bang and a mizzle
of garlic. I grabbed my gas mask, wished I were home.
La éla él Alláhul alíul azéem—
I heard him shrieking like a wounded rat.
There is no God except Allah the Great.

Except there was no God. Allah the Great
swelled in him like the prayer call that fills
the muezzin’s lungs and mixes with his breath
until it clots into a bullet, flies,
            and falls.


In Defense of Hell

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