Ħarb (Or on Waging War in Spite of God)
— Tariq Luthun
When piqued, boys be a bone.
Be a tantrum, a cracked tomb
of discipline exorcising itself
into the backs of boys we had
no business putting our fists
inside of. I tried so hard
to find myself in the spines of the men
who wronged me. As told by
my mother: all good is holy, while evil
finds itself in those
who do not sleep, those
awake learning to write and
heed, and pray; in me, this
wired thing. My father did all he could
to be sure I was birthed with a beating
fist to go with those
sleepless beasts, my lungs.
We find—to this day—a book
of versed calligraphy is the prettiest
flesh to make a lamb of. This
is what I will tell my son
when he is beckoned by
the bully in him,
when his scorn loses
sight of its prey. If my son develops a taste
for blood, I will blame it on
the enemies of my father and our ancestors.
One day, he will ask me about the red
in the river
of our name, where it turned.
When he does, I will have
the same answer I did
when my parents told me to hold
my tongue and cleanse
heart: I do not know what to throw away
when nothing belongs to me.
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